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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington. 









I have gotten beyond the Scriptural term of years allotted 
to man unearth. I have outlived my three score and ten. 
I Jut although old age is fully upon me, I do not as yet feel its 
weight. Deep in the mid winter of life, I have not as yet 
felt its chill. I am sensible of no decline of physical health 
or mental alacrity, or warmth of heart. At no period have 
I enjoyed more consciously that great blessing, a sound mind 
in a sound body. Tn this respect I sometimes almost feel 
entitled to lay claim to what Cicero lauds in his immortal 
work De Scnectute : Earn senectutem qure fundamentis ado- 
lescntias constituta est : That old aye which if, built on the 
foundations of youth. Where these are sound and well laid, 
both mind and body are apt to bear up bravely under a 
pretty heavy superstructure of years, and to acquire hard- 
ness and strength, rather than incur premature decay from 

Whilst, however, sustaining thus well the weight of age, 
I cannot help at the same time feeling how near my end 
really is. To me the horizon of life no longer recedes as I 
advance. It stands still and awaits me, and I must soon 
reach it and disappear beneath it from earthly view. But I 
recoil not from the near seen event. Clod has been pleased 
to grant me a length of years beyond the common lot. It 
saddens rne to think how little good use I have made of them, 
how much I have been wanting to Him ray Maker, to my- 
self and to my kind. Yet I have some comfort in the re- 
flection, that though I have fallen very short of my duty and 
of what I might and should have done in my day and gen- 
eration, still I have striven throughout life, and I trust not 


ineffectually, against the downward tendencies of ray poor 
human nature and have sought to keep my soul erect and 
aspiring towards God and Heaven, and may I not humbly 
hope that when it shall pass from earth, it will he received 
into that celestial home for which it yearns. 

I have reached a stage at which the mind has ceased to 
dwell over-fondly on things of the Present. Rather do I 
find myself inclining more and more to ruminate on my long, 
multifarious Past, and to ponder on the short, precarious 
future lying before me. Day by day I feel .more strongly 
that the little time I have left is quite tod little, in my ac- 
tual circumstances, for any important worldly effort or ef- 
fect, and every day I long, with growing solicitude and mis- 
giving for somewhat to do or attempt, that may promise to 
rescue my remaining days from the stigma of an inane and 
useless existence. 

Were I in the zenith or not too far beyond the zenith of 
life, I would disregard the ruin war has brought upon me 
and set to work untiringly to retrieve my fortunes ; to 
which end I would have but to repeat, to live over again 
my past life, and upon the simple principle that like causes, 
if they have but time to operate, will produce like effects, I 
would be sanguine of being able to replace the lost fruits of 
the past with another ample store. Put I have neither time 
nor strength left for this repetition, for planting and culti- 
vating such another, or indeed any other crop. My down- 
fall has come upon me too late in life to admit of recupera- 
tion, and there is no alternative for me but to sit and die 
amidst its ruins. But still I would not sit idle and be ut- 
terly useless in the dear little circle which confines me. I 
would fain keep my mind bright and elastic and worthily 
at work in some way to the very last, if it were but for my 
own sake ; and for the sake of the beloved ones involved in 
my impoverishment and to whom I can no longer bequeath 
money or money's worth, I would fain leave something be- 
hind me, which, if I can but be happy in its delivery, may 
be, if not a compensation, at least a consolation something 


tliat will be precious to their hearts when I am gone, and I 
pray Heaven, solidly profitable to them for time and for 

Behold here, why and for whom the impulse to wrile first 
seized me ! Aye, it was for the loving hearts and partial 
eyes of those to whom nothing that relates to me or pro- 
ceeds from me, can ever be devoid of interest ! It was for 
those to whom I feel that I am ever the same, though for- 
tune is no longer my friend, but has deserted me, and now 
instead of her, age and poverty are my companions, grimly 
escorting me to an humble grave which no marble will 
adorn or iron inclose. But little to me, marble tomb or 
iron inclosure. For I shall rest in thy bosom, Georgia ! thy 
skies over me, thine earth and air above and around me, thy 
sons and daughters, from generation to generation, side by 
side with me, and on thy maternal lap, beneath thy sacred, 
conscious sod, I shall sleep proudly, though sorrowfully, 
forever sensible of thy nobleness and worth, forever mourn- 
ing thy wrongs and ruin. A son's strong love for thee 
unites with a father's for his children to impel my pen, and 
it may be I have seen and known and heard enough, and 
felt and thought enough about thee and thine, to make some 
things that pen shall trace not wholly uninteresting to thy 
true children too. 



In the first year of the present century, the Oconee river, 
three miles from which I was then born, in Hancock county, 
was still the dividing line between a powerful, ever aggres- 
sive Anglo-American civilization on its eastern side, and the 
immemorial Indian barbarism which reigned as yet all the 
way from its western bank to the shores of the Pacific. But 
ray, then clear and beautiful, native stream, on whose bright 
bosom, with its glorious garniture of towering, overhanging 
trees in their rich autumnal attire, I first gazed enraptured 
as the light canoe bore me, a child, swiftly across its placid, 
broad-seeming wave, safe in a mother's encircling arms and 
a father's skilled rowing hands, was not destined to retain 
much longer the distinction of being so important a bound- 
ary. The relentless tide of the white man's insatiable land- 
greed was already beating heavily against it, and soon 
swept over it, and in less than another year the red man 
was pressed back another and to him sad remove towards the 
setting sun. For it was the very next spring, in the month 
of April, 1802, that the Federal Government entered into 
the famous compact with Georgia, long celebrated in her 
annals, known as the Articles of Agreement and Cession, 
by which Georgia ceded to the United States the whole of 
her territory lying between her present western boundary 
and the Mississppi river, comprising nearly all of what now 
constitutes the two great States of Alabama and Mississippi. 
In return for which, besides a million and a quarter to be 
paid in money, the United States also stipulated to extin- 


guish for Georgia the aboriginal title to all tte lands still 
occupied by the Indians within her thus reduced limits. 
And before the end of the year the National Administration, 
heedful of the obligation it had taken upon itself, hastened 
to take the first step in discharging it, by purchasing of the 
Muscogee or Creek Nation the fertile and beautiful tract of 
country spreading out west from the Oconee river to the 

At this period, not twenty years had yet elapsed since 
Georgia had gotten from the Creeks and Cherokees the 
whole region, of which Hancock was only a very small part, 
commencing far down on the Altamaha, and lying first be- 
tween that great river and the Ogeechee, and then between 
the Ogeechee and the Oconee, all the way up to their 
sources, and from thence across, between lines nearly paral- 
lel, to the Savannah and the Tugalo : A region nearly 
equal in extent, and more than equal in value and fertility, 
to all of organized Georgia as then existing ; a fact strongly 
showing what an important stride towards future develop- 
ment and greatness the State made when she eifected that en- 
largement of her bounds, and how sagacious our predecessors 
of that day were in seizing the opportunity of effecting it, 
which presented itself at the triumphant close of the Revo- 
lutionary war ; up to which time all this country had re- 
mained in the hands of the Indians, Georgia having previ- 
ously acquired from them no more than a narrow strip along 
the sea-board from the Savannah to the St. Mary's, and 
another narrow strip running up between the Savannah and 
the Ogeechee, comprehending all Wilkes county as origi- 
nally constituted. Both the Creeks and Cherokees had 
sided and fought with Great Britain against us, during the 
Revolutionary war, and having failed with her and been 
left by her to their fate, they necessarily incurred the fate 
of the vanquished, and Georgia, as the victor, having them 
at her mercy, dictated such terms of peace as suited her, 
and obtained the large cession of lands above mentioned. 
But the terms were too hard upon the Indians for a sincere 


and solid peace, and it turned out, as might have been fore- 
seen, to be a hollow and unreal one. Treaties of peace 
were, indeed, made, but they brought no peace. They 
only terminated one war to sow the seeds and pave the way 
for another. 

The Cherokees being comparatively weak and un warlike 
and destitute of any very able and ambitious leadership 
among themselves, the lands also derived from them being 
of much less extent and value, the trouble our ancestors had 
with them never became so very formidable, and was much 
more easily composed. 

Not so with the Creeks. They were by far the most nu- 
merous, powerful and warlike of all the. Indian tribes in 
North America, and their name had 'gotten, during the 
Revolutionary war, to strike terror around every hearth- 
stone in Georgia. To them, moreover, had belonged the 
lower, and the larger and more valuable portion of our new 
acquisitions. Cherishing still the rancors of past hostili- 
ty, chafing under what they deemed the enormous price 
exacted for peace, and inspired by a supreme chief* of con- 
summate abilities, ambition and influence, and especially 
animated by hatred of Georgia, they utterly refused to ac- 
quiesce in the cession which a portion of their head men 
had made at Augusta in 178*5, and resorted to arms against 
it and to resist our occupation of the ceded lands. In the 
irregular, desultory manner of savage warfare, they kept up 
for many years a struggle, frequently relaxed, sometimes 
even intermitted, yet always overhanging and threatening 
to break out in fresh incursions and outrages. The Geor- 
gians, nevertheless, or Virginians, as the Indians called 
them, thronged in great numbers and undeterred, into the 
contested territory and pitched their settlements wherever 
they best liked, upon soil which they were liable every 
moment to have to defend with their lives. They lived, of 
course, in perpetual peril, and were compelled to be always 
in arms and on the alert. It would not be too strong to say 
of the infancy of this part of the State that it was baptised 

Alexander McGillivray. 


in the blood of men, women and children. The reliance for 
defence was in part on a very few United States troops, gar- 
risoned here and there along the Oconee river, and on vol- 
unteer horsemen organized under State authority, in small 
bands, regularly officered, always ready to take the saddle, 
indeed most of the time in it, and actively traversing the 
country in all directions, attacking, repelling, pursuing, 
intimidating to whose aid upon emergency all the fighting 
men rushed from their houses and fields at a moment's 
warning. All this, however, would not have sufficed with- 
out- the help of other means, and as the best other means in 
their power, the different settlements took a somewhat mili- 
tary character, and might indeed have been not inaptly 
termed semi-military colonies. By their own voluntary 
labor the people of each neighborhood, when numerous 
enough, built what was dignified as a fort, a strong wooden 
stockade or block-house, entrenched, loop-holed, and sur- 
mounted with lookouts at the angles. Within this rude 
extemporised fortress ground enough was enclosed to allow 
room for huts or tents for the surrounding families when 
they should take refuge therein a thing which continually 
occurred ; and, indeed, it was often the case, that the Fort 
became a permanent home for the women and children, 
while the men spent their days*in scouring the country, and 
tilling, with their slaves, lands within convenient reach ; at 
night betaking themselves to the stronghold for the society 
and protection of their families, as well as for their own safety. 
Well do I remember the large, level old field in my maternal 
grandfather's plantation, which in my early boyhood, was 
still noted as having been the site of one of those forts. Also 
the creek near by took its name from the Fort, and was and 
is still called Fort Creek. My grand-father, however, a 
fresh emigrant from Virginia, did not like this mode of life 
for his wife and children, and established them for two years 
to the east of the Ogeechee in what was then Columbia 
county, whilst he with his negroes cleared land, made crops 
and faced the Indians in Hancock, or rather in what was 


then Washington county. For in February, 1784, the Leg- 
islature, acting upon the treaties to which I have alluded, 
made at Augusta the year previous, passed a law throwing 
open to settlers the whole of the new acquired country from 
the Al tarn aha to the mountains, and forming it into two 
vast counties, Washington and Franklin, whose huge size 
was afterwards, from time to time, diminished by carving 
out new counties, among them Hancock. Thus Washing- 
ton and Franklin, originally twin, coterminous counties, 
became disparted, and now an hundred intervening miles 
lie between them. But no length of time or width of space 
will ever dissociate the great and venerable names they bear. 



This rancorous Indian broil lasted with many vicissitudes 
and various degrees of violence for some dozen years before it 
was finally extinguished by the treaty of Colraine in June, 
1*796. All the while too it was intimately complicated with 
an obstinate territorial quarrel between the United States 
and Spain, growing out of their conflicting claims of sove- 
reignty to the entire Indian country west of the Chattahoo- 
chee : Spain claiming as her own all the region occupied 
by the Creeks and other tribes between that river and the 
Mississippi, upon the ground of having reconquered the 
province of West Florida from Great Britain during the 
Revolutionary war, which re-conquest, as contended by 
her, covered all that country at least, if not mucli more. 
From this antagonistic Spanish claim sprang Spanish tam- 
perings with the Indians against us, the result from which, 
and from the hard, injurious treatment the Indians thought 
they had received from Georgia by the treaty of Augusta 


and the seizure of the Oconee lands, was that the Creek 
nation precipitately, in 1*784, transferred to Spain in prefer- 
ence to the United States that allegiance or rather adherence 
that had just dropped from the vanquished hands of Great 
Britain. Their Supreme Chief, McGillivray, greatly in- 
censed hy said treaty of Augusta and the proceedings of 
Georgia thereon, hastened to Pensacola as both sovereign 
and ambassador, and formed with the creatures of Spain 
there what was called a treaty of Alliance and Friendship, 
subjecting his people and country absolutely to the Spanish 
yoke and sceptre. It is impossible to peruse this document 
without being amazed at the excessive subjugation it stipu- 
lates, so unlike anything in our Indian treaties, and the con- 
viction seizes upon the mind that a villainous fraud was 
practised by the Spaniards on McGillivray in the translation 
of it to him. For he was a stranger at that time to their 
language, though master both with his tongue and pen of 
ours. It can hardly be doubted that lie became aware after- 
wards of the atrocious cheat that had been perpetrated upon 
him. But he hid the disparaging discovery in his own 
proud, politic bosom, at the same time silently ignoring and 
annulling by all his action the false, unstipulated matter 
foisted by the Spaniards into the treaty.* For he was alto- 
gether too shrewd to make proclamation of his having been 
their dupe ; a thing which would have damaged him deeply 

* American State Papers Foreign Affairs Vol. I, p. 278. Where this ex- 
traordinary treaty will be found at length signed by McGillivray alone on the 
part of the Indians. In the treaty is contained a statement that McGillivray 
was made acquainted with its contents by "a literal and exact translation 
which was reduced by Don Juan Joseph Duforrett, Captain of the militia of 
Louisiana and Interpreter of the English Idiorn for his Majesty in said Pro- 
vince." The existence of this treaty soon became a fact well known, and was, 
indeed, never intended to be concealed. That its precise character and contents, 
however, were kept secret for a long time is apparent from a diplomatic letter 
of our Commissioners in Spain, Messrs. Short and Carmichael, addressed to the 
Madrid Government in August, 17'J'2, wherein, replying to a note of the 
Spanish Minister bringing forward the pretensions of Spain under that treaty, 
they say that its contents had never been made known to them, and therefore 
they could say nothing in respect to it. American State Papers Foreign Af- 
fairs Vol. 1. page '2'iG. 


with his own people, besides forcing upon him a breach with 
the Spaniards as the only alternative to his own loss of 

But although foul towards the Indians, both in what it 
contained and the manner of its obtainment, the treaty of 
Pensacola undoubtedly had the effect of attaching the Span- 
iards closely to them as our enemies: not that they avowed 
themselves as such and openly took the field against us. It 
suited their ends better to stand masked behind the Indians, 
and to instigate, sustain and exasperate them in their hos- 
tilities and depredations. Hence, during the period after 
the Revolutionary war that the old Continental Confedera- 
tion was still subsisting as the only tie between the States, 
Georgia was all the while harassed by a huge two-fold trou- 
ble pressing upon her conjointly an Indian trouble and a 
Spanish and so thoroughly were these troubles conjoined 
that it was quite impossible to manage the nearer and more 
immediately perilous one, that with the Indians, with any 
success separately from its Spanish adjunct, from which it 
mainly drew its mischievous energies and means of annoy- 
ance. And yet this latter the Spanish one though so 
potent in its effects against us, was not only locally distant 
and beyond the arm's reach of the State, but was also politi- 
cally outside of her jurisdiction, belonging, with the general 
mass of our foreign affairs, exclusively to the authorities of 
the Confederation.* 

'Whilst Georgia during the Confederation always exercised a jurisdiction both 
of war and peace in Indian Affairs, which was never controverted by the United 
States, yet she was careful not to exefcise it in any manner that might em- 
barrass the United States in the conducting of the great territorial dispute with 
Spain. Hence, although the Legislature in 1785, by way of asserting the title 
of the State and protesting against the adverse Spanish claim, passed an act 
creating the county of Bourbon, extending from the mouth of the Yazoo down 
the Mississippi to the 31st parallel, and as far eastwardly "as the lands reached 
which in that District had been at any time relinquished by the Indians," and 
which lands the Spaniards were taking steps to occupy and settle, yet Georgia 
stopped short with simply creating the county of Bourbon on her statute book, 
taking no proceedings of any kind under the law, and in 1788 quietly repealed 

because she saw that her attempting to carry it into execution would be 


It is not, surprising that the State got along poorly with a 
task for which she was thus disabled at once by its distrac- 
tion and her own want of strength. She did her best, how- 
ever, confining herself to the Indian part of it, while the 
Confederation, through that eminent statesman, John Jay, 
as minister and secretary for Foreign Affairs, worried to 
quite as little purpose with the Spanish part. 

Georgia, in her sphere, exerted herself not only in efforts 
of fighting and skirmishing, but also in a good deal of 
finesse and negotiation with the Indians. Her first essay in 
the last-mentioned way, after the opening of hostilities, was 
in the year 1785, and it resulted in the treaty of Galphinton, 
] which, as to boundaries simply, reiterated the treaty of 
Augusta with a further cession of a considerable breadth of 
land between the Altamaha and the St. Mary's, which went 
by the name of Talassee or Talahassee.* Within another 

likely to increase the difficulties of the United States in their diplomatic strife 
with Spain touching that and all the .other territory then in dispute between the 
two countries. For the Bourbon County Act and its repeal, see Wat kins' Digest 
of the Laws of Georgia -304, 371. 

* "Tallassee" is the name applied to this country by our Legislature in the 
Act of December 28th, 1794. Watkins* Digest, 5 51 See same Act. American 
State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. 1st, 551,552. In various other places in 
the State Papers where mention is made of this country, it is called Talassee. 
But Mr. Jefferson in his annual message to Congress of December, 1802, calls 
it the Tallahassee country. In old Indian times of the last century the name 
belonged to the largest and most important of the political Districts into 
which the Creek, or, as it is styled in the treaty of Pensacola, the Tallapouchee 
nation was divided. It is the first named District in that treaty, and is men' 
tioned there as consisting of four towns. It undoubtedly embraced at that 
time an area much larger than the Galphinton cession. All, indeed, of South 
Eastern Georgia, except the old counties of Glynn and Camden, and the larger 
part, if not the whole of Southern and Southwestern Georgia, was compre- 
hended in it; much likewise of Middle Florida a fact recognized by the 
Floridians in the name they have bestowed on their capital. The Indians seem 
to have been greatly attached as well to the name as to that part of their 
country that bore it. Hence, McGilhvray christened his chief residence on the 
Coosa "Little Tallassee," and the beautiful spot at the foot of the first falls of 
the Tallapoosa river was called Tallassee, a name it bears to this day. '-Gal. 
phinton" was a famous old Indian trading post on the Ogeechee some dozen 
miles below Louisville. "Shoulderbone :) is the great creek of Hancock coun- 
ty. For the Treaties, see Watkins, and Mar bury Crawford's Digests. 


year another treaty was needed, and in 1786 that of Should- 
erbone was made reaffirming the cessions of Augusta and 
Galphinton. ~ All three of these treaties were transactions of 
Georgia alone'' with the Indians. The United States was 
neither a party to them nor had anything to do with them, 
and their effect was rather to deepen and exasperate than to 
extinguish or appease enmity. The Indians charged that 
they were sheer frauds, contrived by Georgia with persons 
of their tribe falsely pretending to have authority to treat. 
After much investigation at a subsequent period by Commis- 
sioners of the United States, a conclusion favorable to the 
fairness and authenticity of these treaties was reached.* 
The main thing, undoubtedly, which impaired them in 
Indian eyes was the expecting of aid from Spain in resisting 
them, and the belief that Georgia would be unable to enforce 
them against the combined Indian and Spanish opposition. 
For savages, not unlike civilized people, are very much in- 
clined, when under the influence of strong passions or inte- 
rests, to trample on good faith and the sanctity of compacts, 
unless deterred by the dread which superior power on the 
adverse side is apt to inspire. Hence hostilities continued 
to rage, not the less, perhaps even the more, on account of 
these abortive attempts at pacification ; and there is no tell- 
ing what might not have been the disastrous upshot, had 
not the new Federal Constitution been adopted, and under 
it a new government started in 1789 for our young Federal 
Republican nation, strong enough to inspire the Indians with 
a salutary fear, and clothed with the whole war-making and 
treaty-making power; and also with the absolute control 
over all Indian as well as all foreign affairs. By this wise 
and happy concentration, all the reins over the subject, as 
well in its Indian as its Spanish aspect, were gathered into 
one great, commanding, national grasp, and were from 
thenceforth handled in unison, and with abundant judgment, 
skill and success. 

For from the very outset of his administration, Washing- 

* American Slate Papers Indian jljfairs, Vol. Is/, 616. 


ton, from his lofty stand point at the bead of the Goverment, 
and with his large, well-poised, well-braced mind, long versed 
in great, perilous and perplexed affairs, surveyed the whole 
field, and kept it clearly beneath his eye. He saw in all 
their magnitude and complication, the difficulties of the case 
with which he had to deal, and set about overcoming them 
with characteristic wisdom, justice and statesmanship. He 
found the negotiations in which the defunct jSovernment^of 
the Confederation had been engaged with Spain in an ex- 
ceedingly unpromising state, nor were the prospects in that 
quarter much bettered during the first years of his own 
governance. For Spain was at that period still one of the 
proudest, most powerful and self-sufficient monarchies of 
the world, and had evidently made up her mind to yield 
nothing and exact everything in this dispute with a new- 
born, poor and feeble country. And certainly she was not 
far wrong in supposing the United States were at that time 
in no condition for taking strong measures against her, and 
she feared not to impinge upon the very confines of inso- 
lence in some of her diplomatic passages with us. 

Seeing, therefore, no near or flattering prospect of getting 
rid of the Indian war and its numerous attendant ills by 
sapping the Spanish foundation on which it mainly stood, 
Washington proceeded very soon to address himself in the 
most direct and effectual manner to the Indians themselves. 
He determined to try what could be done to dissolve their 
Spanish ties and bring them under an American Protecto- 
rate. To this end he resorted to the best and most hopeful 
means. Early in 1790 he dispatched from New York, then 
the Federal capital, a distinguished and singularly suitable 
man, well known to him, Col. Marinus Willet, upon a con- 
fidential mission into the Creek nation, accredited to McGil- 
livray. Colonel Willet's instructions were to prevail on 
McGillivray and the other great Chiefs to send a delegation, 
headed by McGillivray himself, to New York to confer and 
treat with Washington, face to face. The mission was suc- 
cessful, and Col. Willet returned to New York accompanied 


by McGillivray and his head men, representing the more 
hostile element of the nation. It was undoubtedly the most 
important and imposing Indian embassy that ever visited 
our Government, and they were received and treated every 
where along the route and in New York with extraordinary 
distinction and attention. They remained a good while in 
that city. Many conferences and talks were held, and the 
result was the treaty of New York, concluded on the 7th of 
August, 17'JO, negotiated by Gen. Knox, Secretary at War, 
under the immediate eye and direction of Washington. By 
its stipulations the Creeks accepted fully the protection of 
the United States to the exclusion of Spain and all other 
powers, and bound themselves not to enter into any treaty 
or compact with any of the States or any individuals or for- 
eign country. They also agreed to abide by the Altamaha 
and Oconee as their dividing line, following the latter stream 
along its westernmost branch to its source. Our Govern- 
ment, on its part, restored to them the Tallassee country, and 
also guaranteed the same and all their remaining lands to 
them forever against all the world. A treaty more cardinal, 
consequential, and even revolutionary in its character, could 
hardly be imagined. Upon it as upon a hinge, the Creek 
nation swung around completely and at once into 
those natural relations with the United States which its in- 
terests dictated, but which had been passionately rejected 
at the close of the Revolutionary war for a Spanish alliance 
and subjugation. It was undoubtedly in gross conflict with 
the treaty of Pensacola, and it could not but have the effect 
of creating an early crisis of the most decisive kind between 
Spain and the United States, whilst it certainly involved the 
Creeks themselves in a position not a little embarrassing be- 
tween those two powers. 

It was a compact, however, on the whole not less wise and 
well considered than highly important, and having been 
concluded and solemnly perfected by the signatures of Gen. 
Knox and twenty-four great Chiefs, and the attestation of 
the Indian National Interpreter and several of our own most 


distinguished men, the work of the Creek delegation was 
done; and now, loaded with presents and assurances of 
friendship, they were ready witli their train of attendants to 
depart for their far distant Southern hunting grounds. But 
their long and diversified ambassadorial tour from the heart 
of their own country over land to New York through so 
many States, towns and cities was destined to he strikingly 
contrasted !>y the character of the homeward journey that 
was in store for them, by the monotonous, though deeply im- 
pressive sea voyage arranged for them by Washington over 
ten parallels of latitude from New York to St. Mary's, a 
mode of returning they were led to prefer by certain politic 
ideas as well as by somewhat of curiosity. For they wished 
for some ocular knowledge of that mighty ocean to which 
McGillivray had been long attracting their thoughts by say- 
ing they ought to have a free trading outlet to it at the 
mouth of the St. Mary's, and especially were they desirous 
of seeing and knowing for themselves that oft commended 
harbor and outlet. Hence, mainly their disposition to go 
home by water, for little cared they for the considerations 
of mere greater ease and expedition that were held out to 
them. Old Neptune, well pleased, grew serene at beholding 
them, and greeted with smiles that beamed over tbe ocean his 
strange new visitants nature's erect, still unsubdued sons 
and stoic lords of the woods. And well might he look gra- 
ciously on the novel and interesting array they presented to 
his view. For never before or since, in all his reign, has it 
been given him, nor may he hope it will ever be given him 
again, to lift his storm-quelling Trident aloft over his liquid 
realm in propitious behalf of such another cargo of travel- 
ers on its billowy bosom as these stern, turbaned, plaided, 
buskined heroes and kings of Ihe new world's yet unviolated 
wilds, their hearts full of homage to himself, and their 
aspect filling with wonderment his Tritons and Nereides 
and all his other subject "blue haired" deities of the deep. 
Arrived at St. Mary's they quitted without regret the 
noble sea ship, which it was certain nevertheless they 


would always remember with admiring love and honor, 
and, transferred to smaller craft, wended their way 
slowly up the tortuous river to the famous old frontier 
Indian trading post of Colraine. And now they soon 
stood once more on that beloved ancestral soil which 
they had just recovered back to their nation, large, level- 
lying Tallassee, a land of pine trees and the cypress, 
dismal emblem of death, though itself so impervious 
to decay; of the hardy perennial wire-grass, nutritious to 
cattle and deer ; of ever-green oaks, and the also ever-green 
stately magnolia, glorious in the middle and high upper air, 
its aspiring branches and lofty top resplendent with grand, 
shining, aromatic white flowers; aland, too, abounding in 
game of the forest and fish and wild fowl ; swarming with 
the honey bee likewise with its generous stores of melliflu- 
ous wealth wonderously elaborated from millions of wood- 
land leaves and blossoms ; and scarcely less alive with 
wolves, wild cats, bears and tigers ;* washed along its 
Northern border by the broad, poetic Altama,t swamp- 

*-Tigers" was the name formerly given to panthers in this part of Georgia, 
and is still their name in East Florida. 

| "Altama'' is Goldsmith's poetic contraction for the Altamaha, formed by 
the confluence of the Oconee and Ocrnulgee. See his beautiful poem of "The De- 
serted Village" written more than an hundred years ago, at a time when the 
emigration of the virtuous poor from Great Britain to the young colony of 
Georgia was at its height. The tide of emigration had been setting, when the 
poem was written, very strongly to the lower banks of the Altamaha, and 
among the emigrants there were not a few who ultimately rose to fortune and 
founded families and left names which are a pride and honor to the State. 
Here are the fine lines which our great river, and its scenery and reputation 
called forth in a strain graphic and powerful, though in some respects exag- 
gerated and erroneous : 

"Ah, no ! To distant climes, a dreary scene, 
W lii-re half the convex world' intrudes between. 
Through torrid tracts with fainting steps they go, 
Where wild A llama murmurs to their woe. 
Far different there from all that charmed before, 
The various terrors of that horrid shore : 
Those blazing suns that dart a downward ray, 
And fiercely shed intolerable day ; 
Those matted woods where birds forget to sing, 
But silent bats in drowsy clusters cling ; 
Those pois'nous fields with rank luxuriance crown'd, 
Where the dark scorpion gathers death around ; 
Where at each step the stranger fears to wake 


en gloomed river, lonety arid austere, recoiling from the sea, 
reluctant and sad to be so far estranged alike in space, in 
scenery, and in name from all its sweet highland springs; 
whilst on the other, its southern side, the Immaculate Vir- 
gin Mother's sacred stream laved it with unfailing waters, 
ever distilling from the vast and secret Okeef'eenokee.* 

The rattling terrors of the vengeful snake ; 

Where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey, 

And savage men more murderous still than they ; 

While oft in whirls the mad tornado flies, 

Mingling the ravag'd landscape with the skies. 

Far different these from every former scene, 

The cooling brook, the grassy vested green, 

The breezy covert of the warbling grove, 

That only shelter'd thefts of harmless love." 

The river's name pronounced in the usual manner with a light accent on the 
first syllable and a full, strong one on the last, thus Jltvlta-titahaw, sounds 
very like an Indian word ; and yet quite surely it is not of Indian, but of Span- 
ish parentage. It is an interesting fact, reflecting light on the first exploration 
of the State, and clearing up a part of its history otherwise obscure, that so 
many of the Atlantic rivers of Georgia have the Spanish stamp on their 
names. as the St. Mary's, the Great and Little St. Ilia, the Altamaha, and 
last, and if possible, plainest of all, the Savannah. For no one can ascend that 
stream from the sea, or stand on the edge of the bluff, which the city occupies, 
or on the top of its ancient Exchange, (which may fire, and war, and tempest, 
and the tooth of time, and the felon hand of improvement long spare,) and over- 
look the vast expanse of flat lands that spread out on both sides of the river, 
forming in winter a dark, in summer a green, in autumn a saffron contrast to 
its bright, intersecting waters, without knowing at once that from these plains, 
these savannas, the river got its name, derived from 'the Spanish language and 
the Spanish word sabanna, and that it was baptized with the Christian, though 
not saintly name it bears, by Spanish discoverers just as certainly as the great 
grassy planes in South America owed their name of Savannas to the same na- 
tional source. The case of the Altamaha is equally free from doubt, though 
not so self-evident on the first glance. It comes from the old, now disused 
Spanish word Mtamia, pronounced Altameeah, signifying a deep earthen plate 
or dish of whatever form ; a name naturally enough suggested by the charac- 
ter and aspect, deep, broad, still, of-the lower end of the river, probably the 
only part the Spaniards had seen when they christened it, and which doubtless 
looked to them much like a hugh, longitudinal dish kept brimful rather by stag- 
nation of its waters and impulse from the sea than by large, everflowing sup- 
plies from an unknown interior. 

* The Okeefeenokee far outsizes all the swamps of the world. Even that 
great Serbonian Bog, celebrated by Milton, 

"Betwixt Damiata and Mount Cassius old 

Where armies whole have sunk !" 

was small in comparison. In old times when Morse's earlier editions were 
still authority in the Geography of the United States, three hundred miles was 


The stalwart, taciturn Chiefs rejoiced to traverse anew, with 
noiseless footfall, the great woody expanse, now profaned and 
denaturalized by railroads, then only threaded by the tiny, 
interminable Indian trail, for which no tree had to be felled 
or earth removed; and they exulted to know it again as their 
country's unquestioned domain, reclaimed from the Gal- 
phinton cession and grasp of Georgia by that treaty of New 
York which their talks had demanded and their hands had 

But just as was their exultation and important as was the 
the territory they had regained, their wild countrymen were 
far from being satisfied. They had gotten back very much, 
it was true, but not much more than one-half, in supposed 
value at least, of what they had eagerly insisted upon and 
expected. Nor were the Georgians better content. Nothing 
indeed could more strikingly show how difficult and malig- 
nant the state of things was, and how stubborn were the 
obstacles which Spanish interference with the Indians and 
the bitter temper of Georgia towards them threw in the 
way, than the fact that the combined nam^s of Washington 
and McGillivray, corroborated by the strong necessities of 
the case and the plainest dictates of policy, availed not to 
render the treaty acceptable to either side. The Georgians, 
although they had gotten by it the whole of the so much 
coveted Oconee country, recalcitrated because it retroceded 
to the Indians the above named Tallassee country between 
the Altamaha and St. Mary's, and also because of its per- 
petual guarantee to them of all their remaining imceded 
territory. And although the Indians had gotten this guar- 

the supposed circumference of the Okeefeenokee. Modern scepticism has les- 
sened it one-half, I believe; but it is mere guess work. Its impenetrable recesses 
defy the compass and chain, and its outer boundary if not immeasurable, 
has at least never been measured. The St. Mary's is not the only river it 
feeds. It is also the birth place of the Suwanee, a river flowing into the Gulf> 
the present name of which is a corruption of the Spanish San Juan, dnglice, 
St. John. The St. Johns of the English and of this day was the St. Matheo of 
the Spaniards. Bancroft's Hist. U. S., Vol. 1, p. 61. It may well enhance our 
sense of the grandeur of the Okeefeenokee that it should be the matrix of two 
such rivers as the St. Mary's and the Suwanee. 


antee, of which they were so desirous, and had also gotten 
back the Tallassee country on which they laid so much stress 
as an indispensable winter hunting ground, and likewise on 
account of its convenience to the sea, by the short navigation 
of the St. Mary's, yet they were ill-humored because they 
did not also get back the rich gore of land in the fork of the 
Oconee and Apalachee. Indeed, McGillivray acquiesced 
most reluctantly in this feature of omission in the treaty, and 
gave fair notice at the time of the dissatisfaction it would 
cause in his nation. Under all these circumstances the 
treaty led not to an entire restoration of peace, to not much 
more indeed than a feverish lull of the war. Depredations 
and occasional outbreaks of hostility continued to occur and 
to impart an uneasy ill-natured threatening aspect to our 
Creek Indian affairs. 

Washington, than whom no man ever understood better 
the art of temporizing wisely or knew better when the pre- 
cise moment to strike and for decisive action had come, was 
in no hurry by precipitating things, to endanger the chances 
which he saw brightening for the propitious settlement of 
the whole trouble, Spanish and Indian, at one time and by 
one blow. For now the French Revolution had broken out, 
and Spain and most of the powers of Europe began soon to 
be drawn within its vortex or to tremble on its verge, aghast 
at its fierce gyrations and direful portents. Meantime, 
Washington kept alive his negotiations and grew more posi- 
tive and urgent as the clouds thickened around Spain in 
Europe. Yet he was free from hot haste. For he saw that 
the mighty chapter of accidents which God alone peruses 
and overrules was now in rapid evolution and likely to throw 
forth opportunities felicitous for his country in this and 
other important matters. So he persisted in biding his time 
and nursing the negotiation, notwithstanding the impatient 
pressure upon him from Georgia for greater energy and 
celerity in his measures. At length the European distresses 
and perils of Spain reached a crisis so urgent and menacing 
as made her feel it madness to enhance her other ills by our 


enmity, and convinced her how utterly hopeless it was to con- 
tinue to press longer her vast territorial pretensions against 
us, under the very shadow of our gigantic and now thrifty 
and rapidly growing young Republic. In the midst of this 
crisis, well knowing as she did, that the claim of the United 
States was one that could by no possibility ever be surren- 
dered whilst men and muskets remained to us, she made a 
merit of the necessity which it was useless for her longer to 
resist, and in October, 1795, entered into the treaty of San 
Lorenzo, ceding to us all her claims on this side of the Mis- 
sissippi to the north of the 31st parallel and west of the 
Chattahoochce. At the same time confirming the old boun- 
dary from the confluence of that river with the Flint east- 
wardly to the mouth of the St. Mary's, thus surrendering, 
on account of the distresses of her own situation, what she 
never would have yielded up to a sense of our rights; a loss 
little memorable, however, by the side of the stupendous 
sacrifice she was soon afterwards forced to make of her im- 
mense and splendid Province of Louisiana to the boundless 
ambition and rapacity of France. 

With this cession by Spain of her cherished claim to all 
the Indian Territory that had been in contest between her- 
self and the United States, went her pretensions to a pro- 
tectorate and sovereignty over the Indians themselves which 
were founded solely on that claim. The Indians were there- 
fore now left to themselves and to us without any chance of 
foreign aid or exposure to foreign interference or instigation 
for the future. Every consequence desirable on our side 
followed now easily and almost of course. The root of mis- 
chief had been exterminated. Friendly tempers and dispo- 
sitions on the part of the Indians towards us had only to 
be duly courted and cultivated on our part in order to insure 
their rapid development and growth. Soon the fruit of a 
permanent Indian peace was fully in our reach, inviting our 
grasp, and ready to drop into our hands as the natural sequel 
of the happy Spanish adjustment that hud taken place. It 
had required nearly the whole length of Washington's 


Administration from its first year to its last to bring things 
to this point, to manage and successfully settle this its 
great Southern Spanish-Indian trouble. But he finally 
brought it to an auspicious termination. By the treaty of 
Colraine, concluded as we have seen in the summer of 1196, 
the last year of the last term of his Presidency, the bound- 
aries stipulated at New York were recognized and reaffirmed, 
and the seal was put to a longed-for and lasting peace, and 
our horizon cleared at length of every boding Indian cloud. 
For both Georgians and Indians had by this time become 
educated and reconciled to those boundaries and were never 
again disposed to quarrel about them; a temper of mind in 
a large degree induced by Washington's immense weight of 
character with both sides, and by their natural feeling of sub- 
mission to the grandeur of the power, which he represented 
and wielded. All which however might have failed of such 
early and full effect on the Indians, but for the disheartening 
fact which stared them in the face, that the territory to the 
east of the Oconee and its prongs for which they had been 
contending, was already hopelessly lost to them, having 
become, during the contention, filled up and occupied by a 
population more than able and intensely determined to hold 
and defend it against them forever. 




Thus long liave I, yielding to a just love and partiality 
for the section of Georgia in which I was l)orn and in which 
the bones of my forefathers repose, lingered and dwelt on 
the tnmhlous and important interval of time which elapsed 
from its first acquisition and settlement down to its final 
pacification. And, moreover, it is a portion of the history 
of the State well worthy, on its own account, to be recalled 
and remembered, for it records a great step, a striking 
epoch in her progress and development. But it is impossi- 
ble not to be conscious that the scenes and events of that 
period have had their full day on the world's stage and in 
men's minds, and now not only have they passed off from 
both, but there is no longer a generation living whose blood 
could be made to tingle at their recital. And yet to me, 
long accustomed to cherish dearly the memories and tradi- 
tions of niy native soil, it has often seemed that in this pro- 
tracted, fitful, frontier war for the lordship of the Oconee 
lands, there was much. in regard both to the actors and the 
things enacted on which the mind might dwell not unre- 
warded, and which Georgians at least ought not willingly 
to let go down to oblivion. 

Particularly has it struck me that connected with this w;ir 
there was a signal circumstance, which rendered it excep- 
tional and ennobled it among Indian wars. The proud fact, 
I mean, that it was the theatre on which was conspicuously 
displayed one of those infrequent, extraordinary characters 
that history loves to contemplate, and which, however they 
may specially belong to some one people, sector class, during 


their active, living career, become the large and general 
property of mankind when dead. 

Such a character was Alex. McGillivray, by all odds the 
foremost man of Indian blood and raising that Anglo-Amer- 
ica has ever seen ; one who was universally allowed and felt 
in his day to be the very soul of the Creek nation, which 
was almost absolutely swayed by his genius and will. And 
be it remembered, that it was not a petty, confined tribe that 
was thus swayed by him, and swayed, too, in a manner and 
with an ability which struck enlightened civilized observers 
with admiration, but a wide extended Indian commonwealth, 
exulting in thousands of fearless warriors and an hundred 
organized towns, all under their respective Chiefs,* over- 
spreading a region far greater than all Georgia now is. 
McGillivray was Supreme Chief of the whole, freely eleva- 
ted to that height by his fierce countrymen because of his 
superior qualities and merits, aided also by some consider- 
able advantages of family and connection. He made him- 
self effectively felt all the while throughout his wild do- 
mains and the surrounding parts. His entire country lay 
within the chartered bounds of Georgia and Florida, and 
the absorbing study and struggle of his life, after our Revo- 
lutionary war, was how to save it from the territorial greed 
of Georgia, a danger from which he early augured that 
ruin to his nation, which long after his death was so fully 
realized. Peace or war with us he clearly saw was alike 
perilous to his country, and he would gladly have kept her 
away as well from our caresses as from our hostilities, for 
they both always. equally menaced her integrity, looking as 
they invariably did, to still other treaties and other surren- 
ders of land. Fully sensible of the difficulty and peril of 
his country's situation, he glanced keenly around in every 
direction for extrication and support. There is no doubt 
that he had formed and was seeking to accomplish the 
scheme of an intimate and permanent confederation of the 

* American State Papers. Indian Jiff airs, Vol. 1st, p. 15; Gen. Knox's Report 
of July Qlh, 1789. 


four great Southern tribes, the Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws 
and Chickasaws, of which he would undoubtedly have be- 
come the head alike in fact and in form. He turned his at- 
tention also to Florida and Spain, and became an apt diplo- 
matist and negotiator with the Spanish authorities in Pen- 
sacola, Mobile and New Orleans, and our own national ar- 
chives abound in proof how well he acquitted himself in all 
his transactions and correspondence with our public diction- 
aries and commissioners.* 

Col. Stagrove, United States Agent among the Creeks, and 
other minor national officials, as well as the Georgians gen- 
erally of that day, used oddly enough to inveigh against 
him for what they called his duplicity. The charge, it must 
be admitted, was not purely fictitious, though certainly not 
very reasonable or just in the quarter from whence it came. 
What right have the strong to cast such a reproach on the 
weak, whom they are seeking to oppress and dispossess by 
sheer means of greater force? And yet it is the standing 
reproach, which in all ages, the vis major, superior, over- 
bearing power has been wont to hurl at the feeble, whenever 
they have happened to be troiiblesomely successful in em- 
ploying what is stigmatized as artifice and cunning for their 
defense and safety. Undoubtedly in the circumstances, in 
which McGillivray saw himself placed, threatened by Georgia 
and the United States on the one hand, treacherously embraced 
and instigated by Spain on the other, both powers an entire 
overmatch for his own country, he must needs have aban- 
doned that country's cause to ruin or resorted to somewhat 
of duplicity for her sake, that is to say, he was compelled to 
play adroitly between the two dreaded powers. In such a 
situation duplicity changed its nature and became, as prac- 
tised by him, a high, patriotic virtue, the only one, indeed, 
which he could make count for much against two such hol- 
low friends and real rival enemies as he had too much reason 
to fear they both were. Accordingly he deserves no censure 
from us or from anybody, because, incensed and alarmed at 

*See 1st Vol. American State Papers on Indian Jljfairs passim. 


the deep incision made into his territory by our fathers at 
the close of the Revolutionary war, he hastened to throw 
himself into the arms of Spain as a security and resentment 
alike against Georgia and the United States. After contin- 
uing firm for a number of years to this enforced Spanish 
preference, learning from his own keen observation, as well 
as from all the antecedents of Spain in America, what abun- 
dant cause there was to bo distrustful of her, he oscillated 
back towards the United State -=, attracted by the great con- 
fidence inspired by the character of Washington, by the 
concentration of all power over Indian affairs in the Federal 
Government, arid by the better terms and stipulations now 
held out from our side to his own and all other Indian tribes. 
Yet it is obvious that in taking this great turn which culmi- 
nated so quickly in the treaty of New York, he was far from 
coutbmplating any breach with Spain. For he deemed it 
his policy to keep a strong, though latent hold on her as a 
safeguard against the United States,, whom, nevertheless, he 
was bent on attaching as a friend, and holding, moreover, as 
a guarantor of the territory of the Indians against all the 
world, Spain included. 

In the meantime, as already mentioned, he was scheming 
to construct a grand confederacy of the four great Southern 
tribes which might serve as a bulwark to the whole of them 
agciinst the grasping designs of both the United States and 
Spain. It is not extravagant to say that the most consum- 
mate political genius could hardly have devised anything 
better or more suited to the circumstances than this, his 
plan, in its entirety. Had he lived to bring it to perfection 
and launch it into operation, there is no telling how much 
it might have changed the whole character and current of 
our subsequent Indian relations and history, and prevented 
many disastrous Indian (and perhaps also Spanish) events 
that afterwards took place. It might even have been that 
the Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws and Chickasaws, instead 
of dwindling away, as they now seem likely to do, unhappy 
exotics in their compulsory Trans-Mississippi homes, would 


have become, under his auspices, one grand, consolidated, 
Indian commonwealth, rooted and flourishing permanently 
on their beloved ancestral soil, and destined finally perhaps 
to full, fraternal incorporation into our mighty American 
system of States. Such at least was the consummation 
which, it is known and recorded, this great Muscogee patriot 
and statesman had conceived and suggested in regard to 
his own particular tribe. 

Behold here the magnanimous hopes that flattered Mc- 
Gillivray arid occupied his thoughts and fired his ambition ! 
But he was arrested by death in the midst of these high and 
beneficent machinations, and at a time, too, when he was 
apparently under a cloud. If his life had been prolonged, 
time would probably, however, have vindicated his strategy 
and his control over events, and it is likely that a brighter 
sun and a broader and more brilliant horizon would have 
beamed out upon him than he had ever known. With en- 
dowments such as distinguished him, with such a prestige 
as he had with the Indians of his own and all the neigh- 
boring tribes, and his strong, easy influence over them, for- 
tune could hardly have continued lastingly untractable to- 
wards him. His authority with his people had a vitality 
which reached beyond his life. Whilst the tone of the 
Creek nation went down considerably from the time of his 
death, yet for years afterwards the subtle influence that had 
long emanated from him and ruled in Creek affairs, survived 
him and continued to be felt. Particularly was it an ele- 
ment along with the name of Washington and other causes 
that gradually led his countrymen to become reconciled to 
the long distasteful treaty of New York, for which he 
was responsible as its almost sole negotiator and author on 
the Indian side, his brother Chiefs having been not much 
more than machines in his hands in that great piece of In- 
dian diplomacy. 

If ever there shall arise a weird pen fitted to deal with 
such a subject, it will find in this man's character and 
career a theme full of inspiration and demanding all its 


power. The fabled centaur of antiquity, thai marvelous 
conception of the human, united with the equine form and 
nature, was but a fiction, though one full of richest mcan- 
in\ The scarcely less wonderful union of the civilized with 
the savage man in Alexander McGillivray was a hard, tan- 
gible reality, the most felicitous compound of the kind ever 
seen. Both by lineage and education he was heir to the 
two natures, which co-existed in him seemingly without con- 
flict and with great force and harmony of development. 
In youth he had what Washington and Franklin had, a 
common English education, sufficient to enable him as them 
in after life to impress on all men a strong sense of the great- 
ness which nature had bestowed, and which fortune and cir- 
cumstances exercised to the utmost and brought out fully to 
the world's view; The shrewdness, the robust sense and 
I crude force of the Scotch Highland Chieftain were blended 
in him with cairn Indian subtlety and intensity, and the in- 
nate dignity of the Muscogee warrior statesman. He had 
great ambition, great abilities, and what is most of all, and 
the true imperial sign of greatness, he had great power 
of influencing and controlling men on a large scale and in 
great affairs. What an outgrowth of civilization on what 
a stock of barbarism ! Like most very strong natures, he 
was strong at once by his virtues and talents, which were 
great and many, and by his vices, which were few but tell- 
ing, though not deformed by Indian ferocity, (for he was a 
stranger to the thirst for blood, and his breast was the seat 
of humanity) whilst all his qualities, good and bad, were 
apt to his situation and the necessities of the part he had to 
play. It has been said, more daringly than reverently or 
truly, that it took nature a gestation of a thousand years to 
produce a Napoleon Bonaparte. The great mother of us all 
ought not to be thus slurred in order to add to the renown 
of one of her sons. But this much is certainly true : Long 
intervals often occur without witnessing any of those extra- 
ordinary conjunctures, which are necessary to the production 
and manifestation of great and extraordinary men, and it is 


not by any means probable that the world will soon again 
have the opportunity of beholding the like of General Mc- 
Gillivray. For to ibis end, there must happen the coupling 
of another man such as him with a fortune and circumstances 
as peculiar and extraordinary as his, and which, acting on 
him, made him what he was and blest him, moreover, with a 
felicity seldom the lot of the great among barbarians, that 
of being well handed down in civilized records, and conse- 
quently rightly known to civilized people the only arbi- 
ters of fame and custodians of glory. Yet let it not be sup- 
posed that his good fortune in this regard, though marked, 
w.-is perfect and entire. In the mention of it, therefore, 
there must be some reserve. History has not been enabled 
to present him fully. She has only preserved and spread 
before us the last half, or it may be less than the last half, 
of his public active career. When she first takes him up 
and makes him her thome, to-wit: at the opening of the 
Creek troubles with Georgia, soon after the Revolutionary 
\\ ar,he was already in the maturity of his greatness, and at the 
pinnacle of power. Of the length of time he had been there, 
of the steps and means, by which he had risen so high, and 
the talents and conduct by which he had sustained and il- 
lustrated himself in. that elevation, there is not, there never 
was, any record, so far as I have been able to find. out, and all 
tradition in relation thereto, has long since either perished 
or become apocryphal, except the general fact of his having 
at one time served under his father as a deputy in the Brit- 
ish Indian Agency during the Revolutionary war with the 
titular rank of a British Colonel.* 

His father was a Georgian, Lacklan McGillivray, who 
came in early youth from Scotland and was among those, 
who, in the Revolutionary war, sided strongly with Great 
Britain. He was a leading Indian trader, a man of property 
and consequence, and his name appears in the acts of confis- 
cation and banishment passed by Georgia. His mother was 
a principal Creek woman of striking personal charms, 

*..-lntcric(in Stdlc Papers. Indian Jlffalrs, 3d V(>1., 788. 


heightened, it is said, by sonic French blood in her veins, 
aud he himself was a Georgian born. The circumstances of 
his parentage and breeding would naturally have carried 
him into the ranks of the enemies of the State. But tradi- 
tion and written accounts alike inform us that it was his 
father's banishment and the confiscation of his father's 
estate that envenomed his heart and tilled it with deep, vin- 
dictive hatred of Georgia and her people. Notwithstanding 
which, Georgia may well feel some pride that such a man 
was her son, whom destiny, not his own fault or crime, 
made her enemy. For he who devotes himself ably, patri- 
otically, unflinchingly and untiringly in the higher and more 
perilous spheres of service to the cause of his country's sal- 
vation, unimportant though that country may be in the 
world's mouth or mind, merits the homage of mankind and 
| even of those against whom he has devoted himself in such 
a cause. 

He died on the 17th of February, 1*793, a peaceful death 
on civilized soil, whilst a visitor at Pensacola among those 
{Spanish friends and allies with whom he had long been ac- 
customed to work and plot against us, whom at the same 
time he too shrewdly understood, and too profoundly fath- 
omed, not to see that there was reason why he should watch 
them closely and make a friend of the United States against 
them. Arid yet, as if fate had decreed that in everything 
and to the very last there should be something remarkable 
and out of the common course in regard to him, this man, 
whom nature and fortune had concurred to make great, dy- 
ing there on Spanish soil, was spurned when dead by Span- 
ish religion and denied burial in their sacred ground* by 
those who had courted and magnified him while living, and 
was left to be obscurely interred by private arid profane 
hands in the garden of his Scotch friend, Panton, the great 
Indian trader, where doubtless all trace of his grave has 
long since vanished, and the spot will be forever unknown, 
which inhumes the once famous and potential Alexander 

* American State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. 1, :>>$:>. 


McGillivray. Wliat a contrast to the treatment of the aged 
and distinguished Choctaw Chief Pushmataha, who, dying 
at- Washington in 1824, not only found an honored grave 
in the Congressional burying ground with monumental stone 
and inscription, but whose dying wish, "when I am gone, 
let the big guns be fired over me," was touchingly fulfilled 
by the booming of minute guns from Capitol Hill, the roar 
of cannon over his grave and all the accompanying pomps 
and glories of a grand and crowded public funeral.* But 
the indignant shade of McGillivray was not left long dis- 
consolate under this poor Spanish slight. Precious amends 
came soon to soothe and requite. The news of his death, 
traveling by way of the Havana and Baltimore, reached 
Washington in the latter city en route to Mount Vernon to 
enjoy there a few days' repose from the toils of the Presi- 
dency. That great nature which ever discerned and honored 
sterling worth and true nobility of mind and character 
wherever they existed, in whomsoever of human found, had 
recognized these qualities in McGillivray and felt his kindred 
to himself. He felt consequently his death, and on arriving 
at Mount Verriou wrote to Gen. Knox informing him of the 
event and calling the deceased their friend. When we re- 
member what ample and identical opportunities Gen. Wash- 
ington and Gen. Knox had both had of knowing McGilli- 
vray well, and how chary Washington always was of praise, 
and how few and chosen were the men to whom he ever ap- 
plied the sympathetic phrase of friend, this simple spon- 
taneous testimonial from the greatest of Americans to the 
illustrious Muscogee Chief goes to the heart and arrests the 
mind by its high value and touching significance. t 

History too often slights and neglects to record many mi- 
nor things about which posterity feels curious and would 
gladly be informed touching distinguished and important 
personages. The Heroditus of Alabama has, however, 
avoided this fault in the case of McGillivray, and has grati- 

*Cl. MrKriinij's Indian Lives and Portraits ; Tillc, Pushmataha. 
tS/xi;-/^ Life and Writing* of Washington, Vol. 10, p. 335. 


fled us fully in regard to his person, appearance, manners 
and other outward circumstances. He describes him as "six 
feet high, spare made and remarkably erect, in person and 
carriage. His eyes Avere large, dark and piercing. His 
forehead was so peculiarly (shaped that the old Indian coun- 
trymen often spoke of it. It commenced expanding at the 
eyes and widened considerably at the top of his head. It 
was a hold, lofty forehead. His fingers were long and 
tapering, and he wielded a pen with the greatest rapidity. 
His face was handsome and indicative of quick thought and 
much sagacity. Unless interested in conversation he was 
disposed to be taciturn, hut even then WHS polite and respect- 
ful. When a British Colonel he dressed in the British uni- 
form, and when in the Spanish service he wore the military 
dress of that country. AV'hen Washington bestowed on him 
the honorary rank and title of a Brigadier-General, he 
sometimes wore the uniform of the American army, hut 
never in the presence of the Spaniards. His usual dress 
was a mixture of the Indian and American garb. He al- 
ways traveled with two servants, David Francis, a half- 
breed, and Paro, a negro. 11(5 was the owner at his death 
of sixty negroes, three hundred head of cattle and a large 
stock of horses. He had good houses at the Hickory 
Grounds and Little Tallassee, where he entertained free of 
charge distinguished Government Agents and persons trav- 
eling through his extensive dominions. Like all other men 
he had his faults. He was ambitious, crafty and rather un- 
scrupulous, yet he possessed a good heart and was polite and 
Hospitable. For ability and sagacity he had few superiors."* 
It is impossible not to be struck with McGillivray's cra- 
nial development as here given : It is the very ideal of the 
sculptor for a head pregnant and alive with combined intel- 
lectual and moral power. If any man wants to be well sat- 
isfied on this point, let him go and gaze on the bust of the 
young Augustus by the Kentucky artist, Harte, which I 
saw at the Louisville Exposition in the fall of 1872. 

*Pickett's History of Alabama, Vol. 2, Ch. 24, p. 142, 143. 




And on our own, the civilized side, there was also a prom- 
inent representative character, whom we should not over- 
look ; a leading, sterling, nobly meritorious, yet unhappily 
before the end of his career, a somewhat erring soldier and 
patriot, whom it would be wrong and incomplete to quit the 
Oconee war without noticing and honoring, and whom at 
the same time it is impossible to recollect without some feel- 
ing of melancholy. 

If I were asked what man in those uneasy, perilous times 
was most formidable to the savage foe, most serviceable to 
the exposed frontier, most unsparing of himself, ever fore- 
most, in doing or attempting whatever he saw was best for 
the security and advancement of the State ; who, whilst he 
lived, always made himself strongly felt wherever he took 
part, and who, now when we look back, continues still to be 
seen in the mind's eye stalking 1 sternly, with his armor on, 
across the troublous space he once so bravely filled in our 
dim, historic past; his stalwart, war-hardened form, yet 
dominant on the theatre where he was so long wont at dif- 
ferent periods to suffer, fight and strive for Georgia, not 
against the Indians only, but against the British Tories 
also ; my prompt answer would be that General Clark, the 
elder, Elijah Clark, the father, was that man. I designate 
him thus because, distinguished as he was himself, no 
Georgian, who lived half a century ago, could possibly re- 
call him without remembering instantly that it was his good 
fortune to be further felicitously distinguished, by having a 
son, also a General, who during a long striking career 


courted and acquired great eminence, both personal and offi- 
cial, and honorably illustrated, if he did not augment the 
name he inherited, leaving it more intensely imprinted at 
least, if not higher enrolled on Fame's proud catalogue. 
Thus much one, who was never his political friend, drops in 
passing, as a spontaneous tribute to the memory of that 
strong charactered, most remarkable man, General Clark, 
the son, about whom his fellow citizens were too long and 
fiercely divided in his life-time to have become fully recon- 
ciled since his death, now about forty years ago. That re- 
conciliation, will not, if ever, be perfect till its cause shall 
be pleaded at the bar of an entirely new generation. 

General Elijah Clark was indebted in no small degree, to 
the fact of his residence in \Vilkes county, on the then up- 
per border of the State, for his great conspicuousness in our 
past Revolutionary Indian troubles. Had he lived on the 
seaboard or anywhere else far down the country, it is almost 
certain that his part in those scenes would not have been so 
important, stirring and incessant ; neither would he prob- 
ably have become involved, as a consequence partly at least 
of his connection with 1hem, in those more than question- 
able doings, which in his latter years drew down condemna- 
tion for him from the highest and best quarters, and which 
have furnished a handle to a recent historian for reflecting 
altogether too injuriously on his name and fame.* Resid- 
ing, however, as he did, in the immediate neighborhood of 
the Indian hostilities and depredations, he could not but be 
aroused by them to continual vigilance and activity. More- 
over, the very high military reputation which he had won 
and brought out of the Revolutionary war, made him the 
man, to whom all the upper new settlements looked as the 
most competent of leaders and the most fearless of fighters. 
Hence the universal voice of men, women and children con- 
spired with his own patriotic and pugnacious qualities and 
impulses to bring him to the front in every emergency of 
much danger and anxiety. On such occasions at his bugle 

Steven's History of Georgia, Vol. 2, p. 404, 405, 406. 


call, there never failed to come trooping to him from the 
freshly cleared fields and still uncleared forests, hands of 
armed men, at the head of whom he would repel incursions, 
and pursue and punish the flying foe even in the distant re- 
cesses of his wild woods. 

The most signal battle in this whole war, that of Jack's 
Creek, in what was then Indian territory, but is now Walton 
county, was fought by him in the year 1787, in this way.* 
It is striking to read his report of this battle to Gov. Mat- 
thews. No mention is made in it, of his having a son in the 
battle, though with a just paternal pride, commingled with 
a proper delicacy, he emphasizes together the gallantry and 
conduct of Col. Freeman and Major Clark, and baptizes 
the thereto nameless little stream, on which the battle was 
fought, by simply saying that it was called Jack's Creek a 
name then but just bestowed by admiring comrades in arms 
in compliment to the exploits and bravery of the General's 
youthful son on the occasion. Long, very long after that 
son had ceased to be young and the frosts of winter were on 
his warlike and lofty brow, thousands and thousands of old 
Georgians used to love still to repeat the name of Jack 
Clark without prefix of either Governor or General, and to 
remember him too as the hero of the well fought and impor- 
tant, though now it would be deemed, tiny battle of Jack's 
Creek. For in those days of hourly dread and peril, to be 
forward and valiant in defending the settlements from the 

* White's Statistics 581 ; Historical Collections 672. -White in his Statistics 
of Georgia dignifies this battle no little by saying that the Indians were com- 
manded by McGillivray; a great mistake, which White himself tacitly acknowl- 
edges by wholly omitting any such statement in the account he gives of the battle 
in his subsequent and more labored work, "The Historical Collections of Geor- 
gia." Moreover, if a fact that would have added so much to the eclat of the 
battle and victory, had really existed, Gen. Clark would hardly have left it out 
of his official report of the battle to Gov. Matthews. And yet Gen. Clark says 
nothing about it. McGillivray's forte and function to which he always con- 
fined himself was that of being the great statesman and supreme magistrate 
at the helm of his nation, not a leader of the petty bands by which Indian war- 
fare was waged. 


Indian tomahawk and scalping knife was a sure road to 
everybody's lasting admiration and gratitude. 

The sudden, irregular calls thus made hy the old General 
to armed attack and pursuit of the Indians, and the prompt, 
rushing obedience the rural new settlers invariably yielded 
him, were merely occasional things, it is true, but they oc- 
curred often enough and were successful enough to make the 
General feel what power he had among the people and to 
familiarize and endear his exercises of that power to the 
people. But destiny, which had hitherto been forced into 
being his friend by his irresistable valor and energy, and by 
his ardent, uniform adherence to a right conduct in all 
things, began at length to be his enemy and to impel him 
into some improper and ill-starred, though not ill-meant 
courses. His first error was his lending himself to the 
scheme of the unmannerly, mischief-making French Minis- 
ter, Genet; his* next, that of setting on foot the Oconee 
Rebellion, as it was called; missteps, both of which, were 
owing rather to accidental circumstances existing at that 
particular time, than to any intentional wrong doing on his 
part. For the Indian war, which, although not entirely 
quashed as yet by the New York treaty, was by its influence 
greatly crippled and reduced in magnitude, no longer pre- 
sented a sufficient field for the restless, bellicose passions 
which it had nurtured. These passions not having died out 
proportionately with the war, were still alive and smoulder- 
ing in many adventurous bosoms, among others in Gen. 
Clark's, at the date of Genet's arrival in the United States, 
in the Spring of 1793, and engaging in his insurrectionary 
tamperings against the foreign policy of our Government. 
The French insanity, which had already seized strongly on 
the country, now rapidly spread and increased. Most gen- 
erally, however, it found vent only in a wordy fray intended 
to influence the Government and to drive it from its neutral 
policy into a belligerency on the French side. But Gen. 
Clark was by all his temperament, training and habits, a 
man of emphatic deeda and substantial daring, and when 


the French wild-lire readied him, it ignited a nature which 
wanted hut, opportunity to break out into action, and enlist- 
ed a man, who felt assured that his standard, once raised, 
would bring a numerous body of daring, war-loving 
spirits of the South and West around him. Hence spnlng 
those two marring and reprehensible 1 incidents of his life 
above noticed, namely, his complicity with (Tenet in his 
schemes, and then, as an offshoot therefrom, his Oconee 
irregularity. For it would be the sheerest misnomer to call 
it a rebellion. And as those incidents are both matters 
which have been greatly misunderstood and mishandled to 
the no little detriment of Gen. Clark's name, a name dear 
to Georgia and which she is bound ever to overwatch and 
protect with grateful guardianship, I purpose by a faithful 
and succinct account to set them both in a clear and true 


Genet was the first envoy to the United States from regi- 
cide, Revolutionary France. Worthy to represent such a 
crew as Robespierre and the Jacobins, he came drunk, with 
the wild, unschooled spirit of liberty, which in his own 
country was then newly broken loose from the despotism of 
ages and was insanely exultant there still over the ruins of 
an old and the chaos of a new order of things. From the 
moment of his landing on our shores, he showed himself 
the very impersonation of diplomatic fanaticism, wrong- 
headedness and indecency, and entered at once on what was 
evidently a predetermined course of criminal, urmeighborly 
intermeddling and agitation. He seemed bent on signaliz- 
ing his embassy by every audacity and impropriety that 
could tend to throw our country into mad excitement and 
precipitate it as an accessory into the fiery whirlpool of 
French wars and quarrels. How successful he was in kind- 
ling the flames of popular fury and stirring up the people 
against their own Government for its firm, immovable stand 
against him and his machinations, forms one of the most 



extraordinary passages in American history. To such 
height did things get that the elder Adams in his writings 
speaks of the multitude in Philadelphia, (which had now 
become the seat of the General Government) as ripe for de- 
throning Washington himself'.* 

Genet was artful as well as bold and unscrupulous. This 
he evinced clearly from the moment of his appointment. 
Sailing from France in a ship under his own orders, he di- 
rected his voyage to Charleston, a port very distant from 
the seat of Government, and after landing there on the 8th 
of April, 1793, and tarrying for awhile, busied in illicit, 
inflammatory intrigues, he consumed weeks, devoted to simi- 
lar objects, in his journey from thence overland to Philadel- 
phia, where he arrived on the 16th of May, and whither th e 
news of his evil practices had long preceded him.f No 
where, however, on his whole route dii he meet with greater 
encouragement than in South Carolina. The large, very 
influential French Hugenot element in the lower part of 
that State responded to him promptly with assurances that 
went beyond mere expressions of sympathy. Indeed, a 
strong feeling of French consanguinity added force there to 
the universally prevalent sentiment of gratitude to France 
as our generous Revolutionary ally. Hence the people's 
hearts warmed readily to his appeals. He was greatly em- 
boldened. A reckless French enthusiasm that had already 
gotten wide hold now spread and grew more intense in all 
directions. It soon crossed the Savannah river. And 
nowhere either in or out of Georgia did it seize upon a man 
more ardently prepared to be carried away by it than Gen. 
Clark. For all his feelings, his whole nature was strong, 
and with all his strength and soul he sympathized with 
France in her struggle for liberty, and paid back with every 
breath what he felt to be the impayable debt of love and 
gratitude his country owed her, for her aid in our great 
Revolutionary contest. Genet was not long in finding him 

*Jna. Mams' Life and Writings, Vol. 8, 279. 
^American State Papers, For. Re. Vol. I, p. 167, 168. 


out and learning all about him, and lie eagerly- pitched upon 
him as a man eminently suited in all respects, and especially 
by his great military prestige in the South, to become tin- 
leader in the military operations which it was his object to 
set on foot against the neighboring Spanish dominions, and 
which looked to nothing less than the seizure of the Flori- 
das and reconquest of Louisiana mainly by means of Amer- 
ican arms seduced to that illegal service. He thought that 
the pending war between France and Spain and the French 
epidemic now pervading the United States presented a fine 
opportunity for this purpose. Particularly was his heart set 
on the recovery of Louisiana, that vast region the loss of 
which, by the treaty of Paris of 1T6;>, had never ceased to 
lie bitterly on the French stomach. Aside from the zeal for 
France by which he was fired, he burned with the personal 
ambition and thirsted intensely for the personal glory of 
exploiting this great achievement for his nation. And for 
the chance of it, he hesitated not to sacrifice all ambassa- 
dorial decorum, as well as to outrage our country's laws and 
neutrality, and endanger her peaceful relations and important 
pending negotiations with Spain. 

This last consideration, however, was far from being any 
drawback with Gen. Clark. It rather impelled than deterred 
him. Nothing would have suited him better than war with 
Spain. For he hated her hardly less than he loved France, 
and he felt that she well deserved all his hatred as being 
already and for years past the venomous enemy of the United 
States, and especially of Georgia, groundlessly, as he thought, 
seeking to rob her of a vast territory, at the same time 
meanly screening herself behind the Indians and insidiously 
instigating them against us. It was his deliberate convic- 
tion that in taking up arms against her, though under 
French colors, he was acquitting himself patriotically to his 
own country. He accordingly refused not the high com- 
mand which was tendered him.* Commissions, also, for 

* Both Stevens in history of Georgia and White in his statistics tell us he 
was commissioned a Major-General in the French service with a pay of $ 


subordinate officers were placed in his hands in blank, 
money and means were likewise furnished him, though in 
too limited an amount for the greatness of the enterprise. 
His authority was everywhere recognized by the adventurers 
whom Genet, his agents and emissaries succeeded in starting 
up and enlisting. From the banks of the Ohio to those of 
the Oconee and St. Mary's, his orders were obeyed in the 
making of preparations and getting up armaments, and men 
thronged from both South Carolina and Georgia to his 
points of rendezvous on the two latter streams,! fired at once 
by the splendor of the project and the renown of the leader. 
But mark! there was no movement whatever, actual or con- 
templated, against the Indians or their lands either within 
the chartered limits of Georgia or anywhere else. Nor did 
the Indians manifest any hostility towards the adventurers, 
trespassers, though they were on their hunting grounds. 
For it seems to have been made to be well understood by 
them that the whole aim was against the provinces of Spain, 
from whom the Indians, especially in parts remote from the I 
Spanish border, were gradually becoming estranged since 
the treaty of New York, and were now still more disposed 
to be weaned when they were told there was a prospect of 
the restoration of the French as their neighbors, to whom 
they always had more liking than either to the Spaniards or 
Anglo-Americans. Indeed, the French made it their study 
to cultivate the favor of the Indians, who were even solicited 
to join in the enterprise. In every way it was sought to 
make fair weather with them with a view to the march of 
troops through their country on the proposed errand of 
Spanish invasion, while other forces recruited in the West 

per annum ; and there is no doubt of the fact. But when White further says 
that he was solicited by two great European powers to enter their service, it is 
giving him a little too much trans-Atlantic military renown. The story is a 
figment, which, like the statement that McGillivray was the Indian commander 
whom Gen. Clark defeated at Jack's Creek, must be numbered among the 
pretty fables, parasitical mistletoes, that are perpetually growing out upon the 
sturdy oak of history, slowly robbing it of its life and truth. 

American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. 1st, pages 455, 458, 459,460. 


were to descend the Ohio arid Mississippi in boats to meet 
and cooperate with the French squadron that was held out 
as expected to come to their aid by sea.* 

But all this elaborate scheming and ado ended in total 
failure, never ripening into such action as was contemplated, 
never reaching the stage at which General Clark was to 
stand forth, truncheon in hand, conspicuous and avowed as. 
the leader of the enterprise. Washington's administration 
was too strong, vigilant and active for Genet and the French 
party. Our obligations of neutrality toward Spain were 
fully maintained, and all attempts against her within our 
bounds were effectually suppressed. The most decided steps 
were taken against Genet personally. His recall was de- 
manded, and every proper means used to impair in the mean- 
while his ability for mischief. But soon his actual recall 
and the coming of his successor, the citizen Fauchet, in the 
Spring of 1794, broke down his influence and dashed all the 
plans arid prospects of those who had become connected with 
him. The consequences were disastrous to Gen. Clark. He 
was left standing blank, resourceless, aimless, in the wilder- 
ness, with a few troops here and there on the Indian side of 
the line, whom the power of his name had brought together, 
but whose destined field of employment was now abruptly 
taken away. There they were on his hands, awaiting his 
orders and expecting the fulfillment of his promises, and 
the desperate fortunes and wreckless character of most of 
them strongly appealed to him to engage them in some 
other career in lieu of that just closed against them, even 
though it should be one still more irregular and exception- 

It was under these untoward circumstances consequent on 
the sudden wreck and abandonment, in the South at least, 
of the Genet scheme, that Gen. Clark and his men in May, 
1794, began to turn their thoughts upon the Indian territory 

* Picket fs History of Alabama, Vol. 2, p. lf/2, 153 ; Foreign Relations, Vol. 
I. 455, !">*, -I-)'.). 


where already they saw themselves quartered in arms. Nor 
did they think long before they took the overstrong resolu- 
tion of seizing upon the country and setting up for them- 
selves there, with an independent Government of their own 
creation, the rich Indian lands being the tempting prize 
011 which they relied to attract the needful men and means to 
their standard. In taking this step they were sensible of no 
patriotic scruples or impediments ; for, to a man, they 
regarded the country as already lost to Georgia by the per- 
petual national guarantee that had in the New York treaty 
been made of it to her Indian enemies, and by the State's 
seemingly settled acquiescense in that guarantee. Thus 
acquitted to their own minds, they proceeded gravely and 
with all due form in their new movement of government- 
making, unabashed by the contrast between the grandeur of 
the thing they were attempting, and the pettiness of their 
numbers and resources. A written constitution was adopted; 
Gen. Clark was chosen civil and military chief, and the 
members of a body politic under the name of '/The Com- 
mittee of Safety" were chosen to exercise along with him law- 
making and other sovereign functions. Whether any name, 
or what name was bestowed on the infant State, or whether 
it expired without baptism, no record or tradition remains 
to tell. Nor is there any copy of the Constitution now to 
be found. But in the 1st volume of the American State 
Papers, on Indian Affairs, there is preserved a letter of Gen. 
Clark's, to the Committee of Safety, dated at Fort Advance, 
the 5th day of September, 1794, which places beyond doubt, 
the adoption of the Constitution and the other facts of 
organization as above stated.* 

Thus ended Gen. Clark's connection with Genet's project 
for the invasion of the Spanish provinces ; and thus it 
became changed into a suddenly conceived scheme of seizing 
on the Indian lands, on which he found himself quartered, 
and erecting there a new trans-Oconee State of his own and 

*Jlmerican State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. \,pp. 500-501. 


his men's. It is clear that in pursuing this course he acted 
under strong duress. The French impulse arid support un- 
der which he had thus far been proceeding, had all at once 
failed him ; French means, to which he had all along heen 
beholden, had stopped and were no longer at his bidding. 
Consequently, French ends could no longer be consulted by 
him, and the new turn he gave to things, far from being a 
wanton, was a logical conduct on his part. It was the nat- 
ural glancing in a new and unintended direction of a ball 
that had been otherwise launched at first, but which by an 
intervening obstacle had been thwarted and turned from its 
original aim towards another object. 

The development which has now been given of the course 
and ending of the Genet affair in the South and of the 
springing up of the so called Oconee rebellion therefrom, shows 
how widely both those matters are misunderstood and mis- 
told in Stevens' History of Georgia. In that work the facts 
are strangely transposed and misarranged. The Oconee 
affair is related as having preceded and led to Gen. Clark's 
engaging in the French project, and this French project is 
set forth not as having given birth to the Oconee attempt, 
but as having been itself a misborn, profligate offspring 
therefrom.* Such dislocation and misplacement of facts is 
tantamount in the effect to gross misstatement and works 
not less wrong to Gen. Clark than to chronology. For al- 
though he cannot be pronounced free from blame for his 
connection with those affairs, yet the difference is vast in 
every point of view, moral, political, patriotic, between his 
having become involved in them in the manner I have de- 
tailed, and that charged by the historian, who represents the 
Oconee part of his conduct as an orignal, wanton aggression 
upon Indian rights and territory, carrying with it rebellion 
towards Georgia and the United States, and the French part 
of it as a lawless, fillibustering enterprise, into which he 
had desperately flung himself after his character, fortunes 

Stevens' History of Georgia, Vol. 2, . p440, 405, 406. 



and prospects had been already deeply damaged by tbe 
Oconee criminality. 

A very little attention to dates and the actual order of 
events would have prevented this harsh, wrong treatment 
of Gen. Clark. Let us see: Genet arrived in this country 
in the Spring of 1793. He commenced his intrigues imme- 
diately, and it was not long before we find Gen. Clark con- 
nected with him, busied in fitting out and freighting boats 
on the Ohio with warlike stores, in receiving and dispensing 
French fuffds and commissions, and concentrating armed 
men under the name of the French Legion beyond the Alta- 
maha and Oconee on Indian soil ; the same being also 
claimed as foreign soil, in order to give a pretext for saying 
that the preparations there made were no violation of 
the territory and neutrality of the United States.* Now 
towards these lawless doings the authorities and people 
of Georgia evinced no displeasure for many months, 
none, indeed, so long as they wore only a French charac- 
ter and were marked by only a French destination against 
the Spanish provinces. But when, upon the miscarriage of 
the Genet project in 1794, that character and destination 
were exchanged for an aggressive seizure of Georgia's In- 
dian territory, then for the first time popular feeling began 
to rise against Gen. Clark. Gov. Matthews began then to 
see there was something wrong in his proceedings, and be- 
thought himself of interfering and of denouncing and ar- 
resting what he was doing. The result was that before the 
end of autumn the whole Oconee scheme was crushed by the 
arm of Georgia, prompted and upheld by Washington, as 
the French Genet scheme had monthvS before been defeated 
by the arm of Washington alone. 

And then upon the back of all and as a clinching disproof 
if any were needed, comes the insuperable, silencing fact of 
the poverty of Gen. Clark and his Oconee adherents. It is 
notorious that they were poor, (as indeed were the people of 
Georgia generally at that day, though far less so than now) 

* American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. 1 , p. 311. 

(ii:\. ELIJAH CLARK. 45 

altogether too poor to have made it possible for him and his 
followers and supporters ever to have set on foot by any 
means of their own such an enterprise as this wa.s ; an enter- 
prise involving from the outset an Indian war and a heavy 
outlav. Whence it is apparent from the very impossibility 
of the thing, that it would not have been started at all but 
for the French means and preparations that were on hand 
for another very different purpose, and which, upon the 
failure of that purpose, were readily convertible to this new 

Having set forth thus fully the manner of Gen. Clark's 
becoming involved in these, the only reprehensible affairs of 
his life, we feel warranted in pronouncing it such as must 
greatly soften censure, and conciliate kindly feelings towards 
him. And more especially in relation to that part of his 
conduct in which he was implicated with Genet and his 
schemes, may it be claimed that the bare statement of the 
facts is all that his case needs. To add any elaborate apology 
and vindication would be idle and supererogatory. For in 
that whole matter he but acted in sympathy and accordance 
with a powerful and certainly not discreditable national feel- 
ing of his day ; a feeling fiercely inflamed against despotism 
and in favor of liberty and France. And into whatever 
of mistake or fault he and his abetting countrymen may 
have fallen, it was error rather of degree than of principle. 
The undue lengths to which they allowed themselves to be 
transported were but the pardonable result of the over- 
ardent French enthusiasm then prevalent, and have long 
since been condoned by the freedom-loving part of mankind 
as belonging to that class of things in which, although 
Governments are obliged to frown and fulminate, yet history 
and opinion delight to be gracious and hasten to acquit, 
propitiated by the nobleness and magnanimity of which 
they savor and which shed a tinge of honor on human 
nature even in its lapses and misdeeds. 



But as no such proud palliation, closely akin to praise 
itself, can be pleaded for his Oconee doings, it behooves us 
to give them some further attention, from whence it will be 
seen that his memory so far from suffering by a strict scru- 
tiny here will, on the contrary, come out therefrom cleared 
of much of obloquy and misconception, cleared sufficiently 
at least to save from historic blight the rich wreath of honor, 
fame and public gratitude with which a life of heroic, self- 
sacrificing services to his country had entwined his brow. 

I will not here insist again on the casual and almost coer- 
cive, involuntary manner in which he was led into that 
Oconee fault. Enough has been said on that topic enough 
to show that the way and manner were such as greatly to 
lighten whatever blame there was. But somewhat else re- 
mains that makes in his favor; other facts and considerations 
there are which, although perhaps only apologetic in their 
nature, nevertheless weigh strongly for him. Let us look 
at them as they have come down to us and in the light of 
the times in which they occurred, rather than in the altered 
hue which the changing circumstances and opinions of four- 
score years may have imparted to them. 

Then, as we have already shown in the preceding articles, 
violent animosity had long prevailed between the Creek In- 
dians and Georgia. They became during the Revolutionary 
war our bitter enemies and the allies of the British. Van- 
quished in that great conflict, they entered at its close into 
a treaty of peace, friendship and territorial cession with us 
at Augusta in 1783, whereby we became the absolute owners 
of the Oconee country, which, however, we were not allowed 
to enjoy in peace. For they kept no faith, and during the 
very next year, not only raised the warwhoop again, but 
rushed into a Spanish alliance in order to strengthen them- 
selves in their hostilities. Further, also, we have seen 
that in the course of another year they composed this war 
by entering into another treaty, that of Galphinton, by 


which another large cession of land being made, the Tallas- 
see country became ours. Both at Augusta and Galphinton 
General Clark was one of the commissioners on the part of 
the State, and as such was a negotiator and signer of both 
these highly important treaties. In seeking and obtaining 
the Tallassee cession, he and our other leading men who 
cooperated with him, were less actuated by the prevailing 
land-greed of that period than by a sagacious statemanship , 
that looked to the means of a permanent preservation of 
peace with the Indians, which they knew could only be 
effected by cutting them off by a wide interval of territory, 
from Spanish neighborhood and instigation. Long after- 
wards, at the treaty of Fort Jackson in 1814, Gen. Jackson 
avowed himself governed by precisely the same policy in 
forcing the conquered Creeks to surrender a wide strip em- 
bracing this very Tallassee region, and stretching from 
Wayne and Camden counties to the Chattahoochee, all along 
the line of what was then still the Spanish province of East 
Florida. But that very policy of isolation from Spanish in- 
fluence which Gen. Clark and all Georgia had so much at 
heart in 1785, and which made the Tallassee cession so im- 
portant in their eyes, rendered it at the same time extremely 
obnoxious to the Spaniards, who consequently exerted their 
influence to make it odious to the Indians and to stimulate 
them to fiercer warfare than ever against us, indeed, to make 
it impossible there ever should be peace without the retro- 
cession of that country. And so, notwithstanding the Gal- 
phinton treaty, and yet another hollow peace signed at 
Shoulderbone in November, 1786, the war ceased not, but 
was continued and kept up by the Indians with a virulence 
that prevented even any attempt at pacification from being 
at any time afterwards made between them and the 

In this state things were when the new Government of 
the United States was first launched in 1789, and Washing- 
ton was called to the helm. His attention was very 
soon claimed by this war, On the 6th of the ensuing July, 


in a report made to him by his Secretary of War, Gen. 
Knox, it is emphatically noticed as <l a serious war in which 
Georgia was engaged with the Creek Indians, that might 
become so combined and extended as to require the interfer- < 
erice of the United State's."* Up to this period all affairs 
whether of peace or war, and all treaties and negotiations 
Avith the Creek nation had been, under the old Confederation, 
left almost wholly to be managed by Georgia as a sort of 
peculiicm of her's and the rather because all of that tribe 
to be found within the United States were located on the 
chartered soil of Georgia. But all this pectdium of the 
State was now at an end. It terminated by the new national 
Government assuming to itself an exclusive and unlimited 
control over all Indian affairs and Indian territory, whether 
within a State's chartered limits or not. This it did under 
its war-making, its treaty-making and its commerce regula- 
ting powers, and by a stretch in construing the same, to 
which the people of Georgia never became heartily recon- 
ciled, but again and again protested against it by both 
word and deed as long as any Indian occupancy existed 
within her limits. The men that witnessed arid took part 
in the bitter, fearful quarreling that grew up eventually out 
of this question of power over Indian matters, and at length 
got to be chronic between the State and the general Govern- 
ment, are now nearly all gone. But as long as any of them 
shall live, it will not be forgotten how intensely General 
Clark's sentiments oa the subject continued to be cherished 
in Georgia for more than thirty years after his death, nor 
will there be any lack of a feeling of indulgence towards 
him in regard to the errors of conduct into which those 
principles largely helped to hurry him. 

This full transference of the whole Indian jurisdiction 
into Federal hands was practically exemplified in the length 
to which the oft-mentioned treaty of New York went, buy- 
ing, as it did from the Creek Indians, a promise of peace 

* American State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. },)>. 15. 


at the price of the retrocession of Tallassee and of a perpet- 
ual guarantee to them by the United States of all their ter- 
ritory, regardless of the paramount rights arid sovereignty 
of Georgia. 

And yet high as was the price thus paid to the Indians 
for their promise of peace, that promise was not kept. The 
better and more informed among the chiefs and warriors 
were, it is true, disposed to keep it, but they were unable 
to restrain another and a very large portion of their people 
who, instigated by the Spaniards, and dissatisfied with the 
treaty of New York, because it did not contain all the eon- 
cessions they wanted, persisted in their hostile incursions 
and depredations, on our exposed frontier. 

Such, then, was the posture, in which the war of the 
Greeks against Georgia stood and presented itself to the 
view of Gen. Clark in 17 ( J4, when the sudden foundering of 
the Genet scheme left him on their soil in the very embar- 
rassing and difficult situation which we have above described; 
and such the circumstances under which he felt that he 
would be guilty of no wrong towards these savages in treat- 
ing them as enemies and turning his arms against them as 
such, since they were still every now and then reeking their 
hostilities on Georgia in spite of so many treaties of peace, 
that of New York among the rest. Nor did he feel, either, 
that he was at all criminal towards the United States in so 
doing, inasmuch as he was simply disregarding and seek- 
ing to force to a proper test things, which he fully believed 
to be unconstitutional in that treaty and in the Congres- 
sional legislation by which it was supported, namely, the 
retrocession and perpetual guarantee provisions which it con- 
tained. And still less did it seem to him that Georgia had 
any right to be angry at what he was doing, for the reason 
that by submitting to those injurious treaty provisions, she 
had in principle and in fact surrendered her territorial rights 
and sovereignty, and thereby not only abased herself, 
but despoiled her citizens of their great landed birthright, 
and consequently was no longer entitled to denounce such 


of them as should choose to cut loose from her, aud by their 
own strength and daring- occupy the fair regions of which 
she had allowed herself to he so unconstitutionally stripped 
and disseized in favor of her savage enemies. 

It was these views strongly entertained that, added to 
the pressure of the peculiar and untoward circumstances in 
which he found himself suddenly placed, turned the scale 
with General Clark, and determined him to a conduct he 
had not previously contemplated, namely, that of raising 
provisionally and temporarily the standard of private, mili- 
tary adventure, for the conquest of the Creek lands as prize 
of war to himself and followers ; flattering himself that 
the Government, State and Federal, having been seemingly 
supine in regard to his part in the Genet operations, would 
continue supine still, and that his fellow citizens, of whose 
general sympathy he had no doubt, would not only not take 
part against him but would rally to him in sufficient force 
of men and means to insure his success. 

But he was doomed to utter disappointment. He had 
erred egregiously as to the manner in which his enterprise 
would be regarded and treated. Both as to the supineness 
of Government and the support of the people he had calcu- 
lated amiss, and awoke to the discovery that war even 
against savages was a royal game sacred to sovereigns and 
their subalterns, and that the people, ever jealous of their 
rights of property at least, and ravenous of broad, rich acres, 
will not tamely permit lands they have been wont to con- 
sider as their own and their children's forever, to be ravish- 
ed away by the sword of any adventurer, however beloved 
and honored he may have been. The consequence was that 
Gen. Clark was speedily overwhelmed by heavy public cen- 
sure and total discomfiture. The national and State admin- 
istrations acted in concert against him and soon put him 
down. Washington, wisely holding back, as was his wont, 
the heavy Federal arm wherever the authorities of the 
States were faithful and adequate to the suppression of dis- 
orders within their own bounds, acted only as the prompter 


of Gov. Matthews in this matter, who, with his Revolutionary 
laurels still green, soon to be tarnished,, however, by theYazno 
infamy, was now honorably filling his second term in the 
Executive Chair. The Governor thundered out upon the ob- 
noxious General, in a proclamation of the 28th of July, 1794, 
in which he denounces him under the name of Elijah Clark, 
Esquire, as a violator of the laws and of the Indian terri- 
tory. Judge Walton also came out strongly against him, 
though in language of marked consideration and respect, in 
j his charges to grand juries.* But fulminations of this kind 
turned out to be inadequate to the case, though they had 
a good conservative effect on the public mind. The next 
step was decisive. The citizen soldiery were called out, and 
to General Clark's surprise, and utter extinguishment of his 
hopes, (for he had flattered himself that they could not be 
gotten to march against him) they promptly obeyed the 
order. As the storm thickened around him and his pros- 
pects darkened, there were none that came to his succor. 
Even his host of friends in Georgia, devoted to him as they 
were personally, stood aloof and quietly witnessed his 
fall, sad and sanctioning. What an impressive proof that 
the great body of our people were even in that early, fron- 
tier state of society, a truly orderly, loyal, law abiding peo- 
ple. They might, indeed, have been too ready perhaps to 
seize upon the Creek lands with little or no tenderness for 
Indian rights, provided only it was done under regular 
governmental authority, and with assurance that the lands 
would be made to enure to the enrichment of them and their 
children and to the public good. But they were resolutely 
averse to any scheme of acquisition not strictly as a public 
measure by public means and on public account, and the 
more were they opposed to the proceeding attempted in this 
instance, because it was in the very teeth of a treaty made 
by Washington himself with the Indians, and which how 
muchsoever disliked and regretted by the State, she, in her 
sovereign capacity was, nevertheless, treating with a wise 

* American State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. I, p. 497, 498, 499. 


and patriotic, though reluctant obedience and respect, and 
consequently could not and would not countenance indi- 
viduals even the most exalted in violating it. 

It redounds to Gen. Clark's honor and atones not a little 
for whatever was wrong in his conduct, that no sooner was 
he aware in what a great error he had hecome entangled, 
and how impracticable a thing he had undertaken, than he 
abandoned it ere he had done any appreciable mischief or 
shed a drop of even Indian blood. Hence his movement 
turned out to be a shortlived affair of a few months only. 
It is, indeed, beyond doubt that he never for a moment har- 
bored the thought of raising his hand against any but the 
already hostile Indians and their Spanish abettors, whom 
he might chance to encounter. This explains the ready, 
absolute submission, with which, on being assured that he 
and his men would be allowed to go unmolested, he at length 
struck his colors, disbanded his followers, and returned 
chagrined to his home in Wilkes county, on the approach 
of Generals Twiggs and Irwin, under the Governor's orders, 
with a body of the State militia against him. His proud, 
courageous, magisterial nature, that ever exulted in facing- 
danger and grappling with it, refused not now to calm down 
and humble itself at the bidding and in the presence of his 
beloved Georgia in arms, choosing rather to succumb to 
her than fight his countrymen, from whom he had expected 
sympathy and support, not opposition and resistance. His 
several posts were abandoned. The torch soon followed* 
and its traces were long to be seen. But now, I ween, there 
is a many a dweller along the storied Oconee who never even 
heard of Fort Advance or Fort Defiance, and the other less 
noted warlike coverts that of yore for one whole summer and 
far into the first autumnal month, scowled on the impassive, 
race-dividing stream, and frowned trebly from its western 
bank on Georgia, the Indians and the general Government. 

* American State Papers. Indian Jffairs, Vol. l?t,page 49t; Stevens 1 History 
of Georgia, Vol. 2, p. 404. 



I3ilt rising abote all other considerations in estimating the 
hearing of this matter on Gen. Clark's fame, comes the cru- 
cial question, what was his mind and intention, Avhat the 
real, ulterior object he had in view? Was it, at bottom, 
good or bad, patriotic or unpatriotic? There is, I believe, 
nothing on record, or coming down to us by tradition, 
that furnishes an answer in terms to these questions. But 
there is enough in the known facts of the case, and in the 
whole of Gen. Clark's character and career, from which a 
satisfactory answer may be educed. 

In order then to a right answer, it must be remem- 
i bered that Gen. Clark was not only a superior military man 
I and a most ardent patriot, but also that he had in him no 
little of the statesman and political strategist, such particu- 
larly as was suited to the circumstances and times and the 
theatre in which he had to act: A fact evinced by the lead- 
ing part he took from and after the Revolutionary war at 
Augusta, Galphinton, Shoulderbone and elsewhere, in and 
about councils, negotiations and treaties touching Indian 
affairs, (which were then by far the greatest, most difficult 
and trying branch of our political affairs,) in all of which he 
showed himself hardly less apt and efficient than in com- 
manding armed men, fighting battles and conducting cam- 
paigns. To him it was painfully clear that Georgia, with 
the Oconee river as a permanent guaranteed boundary be- 
tween herself and the Indians, could never attain to much 
prosperity and importance, but must always continue feeble 
and poor, with but little rank in the sisterhood of States in 
which she was embraced, and still less security against the 
formidable Indian hordes by which she was surrounded on 
every side, except along the Atlantic and the Savannah 
river. He had an intense conviction that the paramount 
point in her policy to which her attention should be directed, 
was her enlargement towards the West, over those fine re- 
gions forming at this time the heart of what is called Mid- 
dle Georgia, and which, on being settled and becoming 


populous and powerful, would form barriers deterring Indian 
hostilities and incursions, instead of being tempting fields for 
them, as long, feeble lines of frontier, always were. 

This strong conviction was, beyond doubt, an influential 
element in impelling him in the spring of 1*794, to seize the 
opportunity which then courted him, of making himself 
master of the trans-Oconee country by means of the French 
resources and preparations to which he had fallen heir. Fully 
believing that no considerations of patriotism forbade, on 
the contrary, that they warranted him in such a step, he 
hesitated not to make avail of his French means, and' his 
unpleasa'nt predicament on Indian soil, to create an Indian 
crisis that would either force a cession or end in a conquest. 
The government which for this purpose he extemporised and 
which he could, surely, not have intended i'or a permanency, 
pretended to only such faculties as might enable it to succeed 
in attracting by its promises and protecting by its arms and 
arrangements, the adventurers and settlers who were indis- 
pensable to his plans, and to whom the great inducement to 
join his standard was to be, as in old feudal times, liberal 
allotments of land, the most effective device ever yet tried 
of inflaming to the utmost the rage of conquest. Such is a 
broad outline of the vision which all the circumstances indi- 
cate as having floated in Gen. Clark's mind, terminating in 
his thoughts in the eventual re-absorption of himself and his 
followers back again into the bosom of Georgia, with all 
their fair lands and brave acquisitions. That somewhat of 
this nature was the upshot, the aim and end he contempla- 
ted is, in the highest degree, probable. His character and 
all that throws any light upon his intentions, point that 
way. Indeed what other course could there have finally 
been for him? None, certainly, unless we can suppose he 
intended to reproduce, under circumstances most unfavora- 
ble, that recent abortion, the State of Franklin, with whose 
throes of ill success and ultimate total failure, he was too 
well acquainted to be in any danger of being tempted to 
engage in any similar experiment. 


On the whole then, we rest in the conclusion that nothing 
could he more wrong than to treat this Oconee error as a 
misdemeanor against patriotism, or as detracting seriously 
from a great public deserver's claims to he cherished and 
honored by his countrymen. Indeed, it was an error 
founded no little in Gen. Clark's extreme love of Georgia, 
and his resentment of what he deemed a great injury to her, 
although its main cause undoubtedly was the very difficult, 
embarrassing situation, in which he was involved, and to 
which we have so fully adverted. No thought of rebellion, 
no sentiment of disloyalty ever entered his breast. Although 
throwing himself decidedly, as he did, in collision at once 
with the United States and Georgia, yet his eventual action 
showed that his design was nothing more nor worse than to 
exert a right undeniable to every citizen, whilst certainly it 
is one only to be exercised upon great consideration and 
with a deep conscientious sense of responsibility, the right, 
namely, of disregarding and taking issue upon and bring- 
ing to thet.est any unconstitutional law or treaty, especially 
when having a tendency so formidable as that of planting 
permanently on the chartered soil of the State a powerful 
savage nation under the pupilage and protection of the gen- 
eral Government. Such was the principle on which Gen. 
Clark acted, fully acknowledging at the same time his 
amenability to the tribunals of the land and to the interdic- 
tion of the public will. Hence, no sooner did Governor 
Mathews issue his proclamation against him, than he reap- 
peared in Wilkes county and surrendered himself to the 
judicial authorities for trial upon the Governor's charges.* 
Being pronounced guiltless of any offence, and no grounds be- 
ing found for his further detention, he recrossed the Oconee to 
his posts and preparations. No other prosecution was ever 
started, no other judicial action of any kind was ever taken 
or attempted against him. He consequently felt warranted 
by the people and State in what he was doing, and at liber- 
ty to proceed in it, although condemned by the Governor 

* American State Papers, Indian Affair*. Vol, 1, p. 495, 0, 7, 8, 9, 500. 


and Judge Walton. When, however, upon the militia 
being called out, he was awakened, by their obedience and 
alacrity, to a knowledge of his mistake and of the popular 
aversion to his enterprise, he made upon the spot the best 
amends in his power by bowing to the now unquestionable 
public will and desisting from his ill starred work, ere it had 
culminated in aught of calamity. 

To a Georgian there are no sadder pages in those huge 
folios, the American State Papers, than those containing the 
imperfect, disjointed, scattered details, concerning General 
Clark's conduct in the two matters we have now sofully sifted; 
sad, less because they tell of what was wrong in his conduct, 
than because they tell it (to borrow a phrase from the elder 
law books) without more, without completeness, without con- 
nection, without all the facts that throw light upon it, 
without the explanations and mitigations that belong to 
it, and which make in his favor, and which are now conse- 
quently become less obvious and known, than the things 
which make against him. Few will ever be at the pains of 
such investigation as justice to him requires. Already has 
the professional historian failed in that duty and done him 
great wrong which there is danger will be copied and re- 
copied without scrutiny, as is too much the wont among 
book-makers, until at last the error will become ineradicable 
in history and go down to posterity as undoubted truth. It 
concerns the people of Georgia that such wrong to General 
Clark should be rectified. His character and career, his 
deeds and services, his fightings and sufferings, his wounds 
and sacrifices, are part of the treasured pride and glory of 
the State ; of the divine pabulum derived to her from a suf- 
fering heroic past, whereon, to the end that her children 
may never become recreant, they should feed now and through 
all time, and grow strong in undegenerate patriotism and 
manhood, and in all the sturdy virtues of their strong- 
principled, strong-charactered ancestors, like them ever 
prompt at the call of duty and honor, to discard ease and 
court danger and hardships. His character was a mixed 


one, it is true, as strong, commanding characters often are. 
But we cannot submit, because he had faults and fell into 
errors, that his merits should be unduly shaded and almost 
shut out from view, and his character transmitted to the 
future aspersed with epithets of obloquy and disparagement. 
He deserves better than that his name should suffer by care- 
less or prejudiced historic handling. He died ranking to 
his last hours among Georgia's most cherished heroes and 
benefactors, and Georgians cannot but recoil from whatever 
has the look of lowering him from that proud pedestal on 
which he had placed himself with hard, and hard-working 
hands, and by life-long patriotic devotion and self-imperil- 
ing. Our fathers, before we were born, had grown to him 
in a close, living embrace of love, gratitude and honor. His 
services to Georgia were such as it happens to but few men 
ever to have the combined opportunity and ability of render- 
ing to their country. He was emphatically the Ajax Tala- 
mon of the State in her days of greatest trial. The British, 
the Indians and the Tories, were ever swarming around him 
or fleeing from him, or plotting, working, fighting against 
him. For seven long years his warlike tramp was almost 
everywhere heard, especially from Augusta to our Northern 
and Western border, and frequently also across the Savan- 
nah ; wherever, indeed, danger was the greatest or the ene- 
my strongest. He was made acquainted, too, with agonies, 
such as the body knows not. Whilst with that boy son, the 
future Governor of Georgia, at his side, he was in the field 
fighting and often bleeding, his British and Tory foes fear- 
ing to meet him, yet seeking to paralize him there, plun- 
dered and burnt his house, drove away his wife and younger 
children, and ordered them out of the State. No wonder 
that with such a man such treatment had. the reverse of the 
effect intended. No wonder that from thenceforth he 
breathed and spread a more rapid falling vengeance than 
ever, if x that were possible. No wonder that he lost no 
chance to strike a blow, and that in every blow, he made 
good McDuff's terrible prayer : 


" Gentle Heavens ! 

Cut short all intermission; front to front, 

Bring thou these fiends of Georgia and myself ; 

Within my sword's length set them ; if they 'scape, 

Heaven forgive them too! " 

When weighing such a man, such a doer and sufferer for 
his country as this, indictments that might crush meaner 
personages, are but as dust in the balance against the rich, 
ponderous golden ore of his services and merits, and we 
hasten to shed a tear on whatever may tend to soil his mem- 
ory and to pronounce it washed out forever. 

His active career closed with the termination of the two un- 
toward passages in it, which I have narrated, nor did his life 
last much longer. He died in 1799, at his home in Wilkes 
county, where hehad settled in 1774, and was with his laborious 
hands among those, who struck the first blow in reclaiming 
from the forest that garden spot of the world, that earliest 
installment of Middle Georgia, which stretched out in rich- 
ness and beauty from the Savannah river to the Ogeechee. 
He was the gift to Georgia of our good elder sister, North 
Carolina. Many, very many, have been her precious gifts to us 
both of men and women from the colonial times down to the 
present day. Many, very many priceless human gifts has 
Georgia been likewise ever receiving from other older quar- 
ters of our own country and from the old world gifts which 
she has taken to her bosom and generously cherished along 
with her dear, home born children. But never has it fallen 
to her to have a son, native or adopted, whom she could 
more proudly boast and justly honor, or who has more 
deeply imprinted himself on her heart and memory than Eli- 
jah Clark. 




One morning in the month of June, 1816, during the 
summer vacation of Mt. Zion Academy, being on a visit to 
my venerated grandfather, I was sitting listless and musing 
alone with him in his front porch, gazing through the syca- 
mores that surrounded the house across the broad, clean- 
ly cultivated field* of cotton and corn that sloped 
away to the south; their long, gentle slant termi- 
nated by the " verdrous wall" of towering primeval 
trees that had been left to stand, gorgeously fring- 
ing all that side of the plantation for a mile or more up and 
down Fort creek. The sun was nearing the meridian. It 
was the day, and a little after the hour, for the mail rider 
to pass on his weekly trip from Milledgeville to Greensboro, 
and my grandfather having already sent and gotten his 
newspaper from the tree box on the roadside, was engaged 
in reading it, the great old Georgia Journal, founded by 
the Grantland brothers, which he enjoyed the more because 
they were Virginians, from Richmond to boot, editorial 
eleves of the renowned Thos. Ritchie. He had not read long 
before he suddenly stopped, and, letting down the paper 
from his eyes said, " Col. Hawkins is dead." The tone was 
not as if the words were meant for me or for anybody. 
They sounded rather like the unconscious, involuntary utter- 
ance of the soul to the conscious heavens and earth. All 
nature seemed to lend her voice to his words and to speak 
out in unison : "Col. Hawkins is dead." Letting his news- 
paper drop to his lap and resting his elbow on the arm of 
his chair, he bowed his head upon his half open palm and 


sat in silence, neither reading any more then nor speaking 
another word. I had all my life been hearing of Col. 
Hawkins, and had become familiar with his name as impor- 
tant in some way in connection with the Indians, but in what 
way I had never well understood. But it was now evident to 
me that he who was then resting in his fresh grave in the midst 
of the Indian wilderness on that little knoll by Flint river. 
was a greater and more valuable man than I had dreamed ; 
that niy grandfather certainly thought greatly and highly 
| of him, and to me what my grandfather thought 
Avas a measure and standard both of men and things. So 
God ordains to him who is early left to grow up an orphan 
boy. (Seeing how much he was affected, naturally a strong 
impression was made on me. From that moment the germ 
of a deep, undying interest in relation *o Col. Hawkins was 
implanted in my mind, an interest more than justified by 
subsequent life long gleanings of information in regard to 
him, and which is still strong enough to make it impossible 
for me to pass finally away from the commingled affairs of 
Georgia and the Creek nation without commemorating him 
and doing him homage. 

Large indeed were the claims of Col. Hawkins to be loved 
and honored all over Georgia, and especially along the 
Oconee river on both sides, and between the Oconee and the 
Ocmulgee. His services to our people had run through a 
long period and were of the most signal character. At the 
time of his death, it was for some twenty years that he had 
been occupying officially between Georgia and the Indians 
what may almost be called a heavenly, mediatorial relation, 
faithfully devoting himself as peace-maker, peace-preserver, 
and peace-restorer, all that time between the two mutually 
distrustful and bitterly divided races. Of this most ardu- 
ous, delicate and sometimes dangerous duty, he had acquit- 
ted himself with an assiduity and sagacity, with an integ- 
rity, ability and success that had obtained for him boundless 
confidence and respect from both sides and rendered him 
dear and illustrious alike to civilized men and savages from 


the Savannah river to the Ohio and the Mississippi. For 
although he was the special resident Agent for the Creek 
tribe only, yet such was Washington's estimate of him that 
he made him General Superintendent also of all the tribes 
south of the Ohio ; hence he became a well known and ex- 
ceedingly important man to them all. 

It was a noble expansive humanity that first planted him 
among the Indians and kept him there all his life. He 
went and he remained among them an angel of kindness, 
an apostle of conciliation, friendship and good will. Unlike 
McGillivray, who belonged solely and intensely to the In- 
dians in his feelings and actions, and with whom enmity to 
Georgia was a capital virtue, unlike Elijah Clark, who 
was wholly Georgian, and was to Georgia, against the In- 
dians, very much what McGillivray was to the Indians against 
Georgia, their bitter, most dreaded, effective foe, Benj. 
Hawkins' career was on and along a middle line, as it were, his 
part that of at once a parental guardian and protector of the 
Indians and a common friend and conscientious arbiter be- 
tween them and their civilized neighbors. It is a fact most 
honorable to him, that in allowing himself to be appointed 
to this rather unique and very trying and difficult station, 
Col. Hawkins was actuated in no degree by the meaner mo- 
tives by which men are too apt to be governed. Nothing of 
a money-loving, nu-rcernary sort entered into his reasons. 
It was neither penury or embarrassment in his affairs, or 
thirst for wealth, or a chain of fortuitous circumstances, or 
the loss or want of prospects satisfactory to his ambition 
elsewhere, that operated upon him. It was his own large, 
man-embracing nature, and a generous passion to be useful, 
aye, beneficient to his kind, that impelled him. And he 
rises inestimably in our view, when we consider how much 
he gave up, what sacrifices he made to this feeling : Sac- 
rifices requisite in no branch of the public service so much 
as in that of Indian Agency, and which in Col. Hawkin's 
particular case, imparted to his conduct not a little the char- 
acter of a romantic, sublimated benevolence and martyr- 


like self-devotion, nothing short of which could have 
moved him in his actual circumstances to quit civilized hab- 
itation and society, and to bury himself lor life in remote 
savage woods, and among still more savage people, from 
whose midst he never again emerged. 

For he was born to wealth and experienced from the be- 
ginning of his life all its advantages in one of the best sec- 
tions of North Carolina, in what was then Bute, now War- 
ren county, on the confines of the most enlightened and re- 
fined part of Virginia. Throughout his youth his good op- 
portunities were well improved. After proper preparation 
in schools near home, his father sent him, along with his 
younger brother Joseph, to Princeton College, for the com- 
pletion of theireducation. The Revolutionary war interrupted 
the Institution and his studies, when he was in the Senior 
Class and almost at the end of his course. So he may be 
pronounced to have entered on Hie a young man of accom- 
plished education, in addition to all the other felicities of his 
lot. Among other things, it merits to be particularly men- 
tioned, that he became an excellent master of the French 
language. This acquirement it was that led to Washing- 
ton's taking him into his military family to be his medium 
of correspondence and conversation with the French officers 
and others with whom he had to have intercourse in that 
tongue. But his duties on the staff were not merely of this 
light and literary kind. He braved the campaigns, encoun- 
tering hardships and participating in battles, showing him- 
self, though very young, on all occasions worthy of his 
epaulets and of his honorable relation to his illustrious 

Judging from his career, he must have been precociously 
distinguished for talents, address and aptitude for affairs. 
As early as 1780, when he was but twenty-six years old, 
North Carolina made him her general agent for obtaining 
both at home and abroad, all kinds of supplies for her troops. 
In discharge of which oifice he made a voyage to St. Eusta- 
tia, in the West Indies, a small neutral Island, that seems 


to have served the same ends for our ancestors during the 
Revolutionary war as did Nassau for the Confederate States 
during the late war of Secession. He was entirely successful 
in his part of the business, but the merchant ship in which 
he embarked his purchases, chiefly munitions of war, was 
captured by the enemy and the supplies lost to the State. 
Returning home we see him soon representing North 
Carolina in the Continental Congress, his name first appear- 
ing on the Journal of that body the 4th of October, 1781. 
He was continued in this eminent position, by successive re- 
elections, until the 20th of December, 1786. On the acces- 
sion of North Carolina to the new Federal Constitution, he 
was chosen one of her first Senators in the Congress of the 
United States, where a full term of six years fell to him in 
the allotment of seats* 

It is proper to mention here, that before the new Govern- 
ment was organized, and whilst he was yet a member of the 
old Continental Congress, lie was detailed, without interfer- 
ence, however, with his Congressional duties, into another 
public service of the highest importance, though of a very 
different nature. It was this : On the close of the Revolu- 
tionary war, the forming of amicable relations with the va- 

! rious Indian tribes in every direction around the United 
States, became a matter of the greatest and most pressing 
interest. Congress, taking to itself a concurrent jurisdiction 
with the States in all Indian matters, appointed Col. Haw- 
kins as one of its Commissioners plenipotentiary, to be sent 
tor the purpose of opening friendly negotiation with the four 
great Southern tribes, the Creeks, the Cherokees, the Choc- 
taws and the Chickasaws. With the three last named tribes 
the commissioners succeeded in negotiating satisfactory trea- 
ties whereby they entered into peace and friendship with the 

j United States, and placed themselves under their protection 
to the exclusion of every other nation or sovereign, and gave 
to Congress the sole power of regulating trade with them 

'Spark's Life and Writ in xs nf Washington, Vol. 12, p. 4 '2-1, 431. 


and managing their affairs generally.* The attempt to ne- 
gotiate a treaty with the Creeks proved abortive from many 
causes, at the bottom of which lay their entanglement 
with Spain by the treaty of Pensacola, and their difficulties 
with Georgia, which had the effect of keeping them aloof in 
a hostile mood, until that master stroke of Washington in 
1790, which eventuated in the treaty of New York, by which 
the Creeks placed themselves in like relations to us with the 
other three tribes. 

Col. Hawkins' senatorial term ended on the 4th of March, 
1795. Before its expiration Washington, who had witnessed 
with regret, that the treaty of New York had only partially 
produced the fruits of peace expected from it, but who now 
saw his anxious policy of thorough Indian pacification verg- 
ing towards lull triumph, fixed his eyes on .the long known, 
well tried North Carolina Senator, as the fittest man to take 
charge of the well-advanced work of conciliation, and then, 
also, after it should be wound up auspiciously, to crown and 
secure it by becoming the permanent agent for Indian af- 
fairs among the Creeks. 

Col. Hawkins' family, one of the most numerous, influen- 
tial and ambitious in his State, was very averse to his cm- 
bracing such views. Wheeler, in his history of North Caro- 
lina, to whom I am indebted for many interesting things in 
this sketch, is emphatic upon their opposition, f for which 
several good reasons are given, such as his wealth, his high 
education and culture, his great advantages of family and 
social and political position, the strong hold he already pos- 
sessed in North Carolina, his flattering future there, &c., &c. 
The historian, however, does not even attempt any reasons 
why all these considerations failed to prevent him from 
yielding to Washington's wishes. And yet, these reasons, 
at even this distant day, may be easily divined. Col. Haw- 
kins, as we have seen, had been much among the Indians 

*See these Treaties in the .Appendix to Wat kin's Digest and Marbwy fy Craw- 
ford's Digest of the Laws of Georgia. 
tSce Title "Warren County.'' 


officially ; he had penetrated the mighty forests which hid 
them, and seen and ohserved them amid their vast unculti- 
vated woods ; he had been brought in close contact and con- 
verse with them under circumstances which presented them 
in their most impressive points of view. He had thus got- 
ten to feel deeply interested in them and to be strongly af- 
fected by that Indian fascination which thousands, both be- 
fore and after him, have experienced, without being able to 
understand and interpret it. Whatever it may be, or how- 
ever it may be explained, it is certainly something so pow- 
erful and touching, as hardly ever to die away wholly from 
minds upon which it has once laid its spell : And particu- 
larly in the case of such noble savage races as the Creeks 
and Cherokees, it always generated a feeling of the most 
lively sort in all who happened to become well acquainted 
with them in a kindly way in their own beautiful country. 
Behold iiere the true, though subtle cause of those feelings 
and that bias of mind which mainly actuated Col. Hawkins 
in accepting the Creek Agency, and not only in accepting it, 
but in making its life-long duties a labor of love to him and 
a source of high moral and intellectual occupation and en- 
joyment. It was this generous, intense fitness of the soul 
to the task on which he entered which, added to his other 
happy qualifications, made him such a wonderful exemplar 
of what an United States Agent and proconsul should be, for 
the greatest, proudest, most warlike and jealous of all our 
Indian tribes. 

His coup de 'essai in this new service was the treaty of Col- 
raine, negotiated in 1796, and which, also, as we have seen, 
was a coup de maitre. It was a much needed supplement to 
the treaty of New York, curing entirely all the wounds 
which, notwithstanding that treaty, had continued, more or 
less, to bleed and fester. At this point then began, and 
thus propitiously opened, Col. Hawkins' long, benign and 
exceedingly responsible official career, in connection with 
that formidable, but at length conciliated Indian people, 
with whose history his name was about to become identified 
in a manner so honorable to himself and to human nature. 


He had a jurisdiction which, in the extent of territory it 
embraced, was scarcely less than imperial. Starting from 
the St. Mary's, far down towards the sea, the line ran di- 
rectly across to the Altamaha, dividing the Tallassee coun- 
try from the seaboard counties of Georgia. On striking the 
Altamaha, it turned up and along the western bank of that 
river and the Oconee, to the High Shoals of the Apallachy, 
where it intersected the Cherokee line ; then turning west- 
wardly, it followed that line through Georgia and Alabama 
till the Choctaw line was reached in Mississippi ; then south- 
erly, down that line to the 31st parallel; then along that 
parallel to the Chattahoochee; thence to that river's junction 
with the Flint, thence to the head of the St. Marys, and 
thence along that stream to the point of beginning. An im- 
mense region than which, as a whole, there is none finer 
under the sun, stretching more than four hundred miles 
from East to West and two hundred from North to South. 
This wide and greatly favored region became thence forward 
the scene of his labors, and to it and nature's unsophisticated 
children who roamed over it, and to all his duties to them 
and to the neighboring civilized people, he at once applied 
himself with that high moral sense and generous solicitude 
which noble minds always feel for great interests committed 
to their charge. From the outset he studied the people and 
their country, and accomplished himself in all knowledge 
appertaining to the one and the other. And here the ad- 
vantages, growing out of his fine early education and out of 
the intellectual tastes, quickness and inquisitivenesss which 
were its fruits, stood out to view and served him in double 
stead, prompting and enabling him to become at once more 
thoroughly and variously qualified for the multiform duties 
of his station, and availing him also as a source of private 
enjoyment and mental support and comfort in his self- 
decreed official exile. Nor was it with the mind only that 
he labored, but with the pen also, and so perseveringly as to 
leave behind him a great amount of manuscripts concerning 
he Creeks and the Creek country. Of these manuscripts, 


to which the public of that day attached great importance, 
and not without cause, judging from such small published 
parts as have fallen under my eye, a large portion perished 
in the burning of his house soon after his death. Another 
large portion escaped the flames and were afterwards confi- 
ded to the Georgia Historical Society. But the great interest 
they once excited has long since become extinct, having 
gradually sunk along with the melancholy fortunes of the 
rude and remarkable people to whom and to whose coun- 
try those writings relate. Yet may it not be, that ran- 
sacked and studied hereafter in distant future times, they 
will furnish to some child of genius, yet to be born, much 
of material and inspiration for an immortal Indian epic of 
which the world wil 1 never tire. 

Under the faithful proconsular sway of Col. Hawkins, the 
Creek Indians enjoyed, for sixteen years, unbroken peace 
among themselves and with their neighbors, and also what- 
soever other blessings were possible to the savage state, which 
it was his study gradually to ameliorate. To this end he 
spared no pains. Much was done to initiate, instruct and 
encourage them in the lower and most indispensable parts 
of civilization. Pasturage was brought into use, agriculture 
also, to some extent, both together supplanting considerably 
among them their previous entire reliance for food oa hunt- 
ing, fishing and wild fruits. To the better and more secure 
modes of obtaining a livelihood which civilization offers, he 
sought to win them by example as well as by precept. He 
brought his slaves from North Carolina, and under the right 
conceded to his office, he opened and cultivated a large plan- 
tation at the Agency on Flint river, making immense crops 
of corn and other provisions. He also reared great herds of 
cattle and swine, and having thus always abundance of meat 
and bread, he was enabled to practice habitually towards 
the Indians, a profuse, though coarse, hospitality and be- 
nevolence, which gained their hearts and bound them to him 
by ties as loyal and touching as those of old feudal allegi- 
ance and devotion. There was something in the vast scale 


and simple, primitive management of these, his farming and 
stock-raising interests, that carries the mind back to the 
grand, princely, pastoral patriarchs of the Old Testament 
to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and Job. For food his 
herds roamed the boundless forests and grew fat upon the 
caney bottoms and grass-bearing uplands, and the mast 
that fell from the trees, costing him nothing, save their 
marking, branding, salting and minding, services well per- 
formed by his faithful negroes and their Indian assistants. 
The sanctity with which the Indians, throughout the nation, 
regarded his cattle, was a beautiful trait in their relations 
to him. Whatever bore his mark or brand, was everywhere 
absolutely safe. He often had as many as five hundred 
calves at a time, to separate which from their dams, Flint 
river was used as a dividing fence, across which, that it 
might be used in this manner, he built a bridge, with a gate 
at each end. There of evenings at that bridge's western end, 
hundreds of lowing cows, returned from their day's wild 
pasturing, moaned wistfully to as many answering calves 
bleating from its eastern extremity. For he repudiated the 
lazy policy which to this day marks herdsmen as a class, who 
with great droves of cattle and calves, are strangers to the 
luxuries of butter and milk. His milk was measured by 
barrels and churned by machinery, and great were the out- 
comes, yet not more than enough for his vast hospitality to 
the Indians and white folks, and his regal munificence to 
his negroes. Had the great pastoral bards of antiquity not 
sung and died before his day, elated, they would have seized 
upon these scenes and celebrated them in their finest strains 
as more wonderous, grandly rural and baronial, than aught 
in all the charming bucolics they have left us. 

But at length adverse circumstances and influences arose so 
powerful that it was impossible for Col. Hawkins with all his 
address and weight of authority among the Indians to main- 
tain peace in the nation. The war of 1812, between this 
country and England, had been portentously brewing for a 
long time before it actually broke out. Seeing its approach, 


Great Britain, through her numerous agents aiid emissaries 
among the Indians, by liberal largesses and supplies of arms 
to them, and by whatever other means were at her command 
in her neighboring Canadian provinces, had been for several 
years tampering with the North Western tribes, and foment- 
ing among them a hostile feeling towards the United States. 
As soon as the requisite success had been attained on this 
border, she directed her attention to the Southern and West- 
ern tribes, and began her machinations among them also. 
The great argument by which she sought to delude and in- 
cite them was, that by uniting their own arms with the 
British, the tide of American aggression, which was rapidly 
dispossessing them of their lands and driving them further 
and further to the West, might be stayed and even made to 
recoil on the aggressors. Her real object, however, was to 
get well within her grasp and to brandish over us the thun- 
derbolts of a terrific Indian war, held in hand and ready to 
be hurled upon our whole thousand miles of exposed fron- 
tier from the lakes to Florida, in the hope on her part that 
we thereby might be deterred from declaring war against 
her at a time when she was already so sorely pressed by 
Bonaparte and the French. Such was the view with which 
she conceived and prompted the famous incendiary mission 
of the celebrated Shawnee Chief, Tecumseh, and his brother, 
the Prophet, to the Southern tribes in 1811.* They had 
little or no success, however, with the Cherokees, Choctaws 
and Chickasaws. But better omens awaited them among 
the Creeks, a thing partly owing to the greater residuum 
of suppressed enmity towards us that still rankled in that 
tribe, as also to their naturally more warlike and ferocious 
character ; partly, likewise, because Tecumseh and the 
Prophet were of Creek blood and extraction, their father 
and mother having with their little children migrated in 
176T from the heart of the Creek countryf to the Northwest, 

* American State Papers, Indian A/airs, Vol. I, p. 800; Picket?* History of 
Alabama, Vol.2, p. 242. 

iPickett's History, Vol. 2, /?. 241. 


where Tecuraseli himself was soon after born, who, however, 
when he grew up made a visit of two years to his ancestral 
land and people. The consequence was that when he ar- 
rived among them on his mission of mischief in 1811, he 
became quickly master of their sympathies as he already 
was of their language. He reached Tuckabatchee, the Creek 
capital and the seat of the Big Warrior, whilst Col. Hawkins 
was there holding a grand council of the nation. Keeping 
dark as to the object of his coming until Col. Hawkins had 
departed, he then disclosed his errand with that fierce Indian 
eloquence for which he was famous, and with all the most 
impressive collateral solemnities of savage superstition and 
patriotism. By these means and the powerful aid of that 
most extraordinary Indian religionist and fanatic, his 
brother, the Prophet, who accompanied him with an impos- 
ing retinue, it is not wonderful that he succeeded in kindling 
a flame among the Creeks which was to be nursed and kept 
smouldering until after the happening of war between the 
United States and Great Britain, when at some proper mo- 
ment and given signal, that flame was to burst forth into 
one vast conflagration along our whole frontier. 

It is a proof both of the powerful ascendant Col. Hawkins 
had acquired over the wild people among whom he dwelt, 
and with whom he had to deal, and of his great ability and 
fitness for the position he had so long filled among them, 
that although the anticipated war between England and the 
United States broke out and involved the Indians the very 
next year ; yet a large portion of the Creek territory, (all 
that part bordering on Georgia and extending west from the 
Ocmulgee to the Chattahoochee,) never became its actual 
seat, and consequently that our long line of frontier settle- 
ments never suffered a whit more than the interior parts of 
the State from the war's perils and alarms. This happy 
exemption was due almost wholly to the fact that Col. 
Hawkins' official seat and residence having been first on the 
Ocmulgee at the beautiful site opposite to Macon which still 
bears his name, and afterwards on the Flint river at the 


place still called the Old Agency, his personal influence, 
intercourse and acquaintance with the Indians on the Geor- 
gia side of their country was much greater and impressed 
its effects more strongly than farther to the West. Hence 
the Indians on the eastern side remained pacific, and not 
only so, but they became our actual friends and allies. For 
the purpose of protecting and keeping them secure and 
steady in this adherence, the friendly warriors were, on the 
advice of Col. Hawkins, organized into a regiment of which 
he became the titular Colonel, although he never took the 
field, deeming it better to devolve the actual command upon 
the noble and some years afterwards ill-fated Chief, William 
Melntosh,* who, like the great McGillivray, was only of the 
half blood in the civilization of lineage, but more than the 
whole blood in the better and loftier traits that do honor to 
man's nature. 

The result of all these things was that the few hostile In- 
dians who were scattered through this friendly eastern sec- 
tion of their country, disappeared and merged themselves 
with the more congenial belligerent elements in the middle 
and western parts of the nation, on the waters of the 
Coosa, Tallapoosa and Alabama. There concentrated and 
fierce they stood at bay and fought and fell in many a battle 
under the heavy, rapid blows of that predestined conqueror 
of their race, Gen. Jackson, the second of that great heroic 
name in Southern history, where he stands and will ever 
stand towering and resplendent in the midst with him of 
Georgia and him of Virginia close touching and illustrious 
on either side. 

Gen. Jackson having brought this great Southern Indian 
war to a close early in 1814, was not allowed to pause in his 
career. The Government wanted his genius, his energy 
and his indomitable will on another and a much grander 
and more important theatre near the mouth of the Missis- 
sippi. He went, and in the short, glorious campaign of 
New Orleans, gave the finishing stroke to the war with 

* Wheeler's North Carolina, title, Warren County. 


Great Britain, as he had already just done to that with her 
deluded savage allies. But before going to gather these 
brighter laurels, he received at Fort Jackson, near the con- 
fluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa, the absolute surrender 
and submission of the crushed and starving Creek nation. 
There with his victor's sword, and in conformity with com- 
mands from Washington city, he dictated the terms of a 
treaty of peace and marked out narrower bounds to the 
vanquished and all their tribe. How much was taken from 
them and how little was left to them constitutes one of the 
most striking and consequential events in our Indian and 
Anglo-American annals. From that time the prowess, the 
spirits and the prospects of the long redoubtable Creek 
nation were broken forever. The capitulation of Fort 
Jackson was its death-knell and tomb. Even the three 
great friendly Chiefs, the Big Warrior, the Little Prince, 
and Mclntosh were cut to the heart by this deep incision of a 
sword whose every gleam they had been wont to watch with 
loyal gaze and honor with soldierly obedience, though mar- 
shalling them into the jaws of danger and death. Col. 
Hawkins was profoundly saddened at the hard, wretched fate 
of those whom he had long cherished as if they were his 
children. A cruel dart too entered his bosom from the lips 
of the Big Warrior,* whom the Colonel was well known to 
have regarded as one of nature's great men and the ablest 
of Indian statesmen. The stern, long confiding chief mourn- 
fully upbraided him for having persuaded himself and so 

*The name of Big Warrior was given him on account of his great size. He 
was the only corpulent full blooded Indian I ever saw, yet he was not so cor- 
pulent as to be either unweildly or ungainly. In fact his corpulency added to 
the magnificence of his appearance. His person and looks were in a high de- 
gree grand and imposing. Tustenuggee Thlucco, was his Indian name. He 
and Col. Hawkins first met at the treaty of Colraine in 1796, and were great 
friends down to the time of the treaty of Fort Jackson. He was probably the 
most enlightened and civilized man of the full Indian blood the Creek nation 
ever produced. He was wealthy and a lover of wealth. He cultivated a fine 
plantation with his seventy or eighty negroes, near Tuckabatchee, where he 
lived in a good house, furnished in a plain, civilized style. 


many of his chiefs and people to stand neutral in the war 
or take part in it against their country. For years after- 
wards the story used to be told how the big tears stood in 
tho aged Agent's eyes as he listened in silence to a reproach 
which he felt was at once undeserved and unanswerable. 

Judging from Wheeler's history, it would seem that North 
Carolina was disposed to claim Col. Hawkins as not only 
peculiarly but exclusively her own. But his career, his la- 
bors and his merits are too broad, diverse and manifold and 
illustrate too many scenes and subjects of national impor- 
tance with which he was connected, to admit of such appro- 
priation. His fame is as well the property of Georgia, of 
the Creek nation and of the United States at large as of 
North Carolina. They all rush to compete with his mother- 
land and to insist on having along with her a share in such 
a man, to whom they each owe so much of gratitude. In 
fact the more he is contemplated, the larger and more ca- 
tholic becomes his hold on the heart, and we end by feeling 
that all mankind, civilized and savage, have a right to rise 
up and exclaim : He is ours also. 






IN 1794, 1795. 



We have seen in treating of the Oconee war how the In- 
dians gave the name of Virginians to the hosts of unwelcome 
strangers that began to pour into their immemorial hunting 
grounds soon after the Revolutionary war, and continued to 
come in unceasing swarms until at length they filled up the 
whole country to the east of the Oconee river. Nor was the 
appellation wrongly given. For it is a fact that this coun- 
try was mainly settled up in the first instance hy direct col- 
onization from Virginia and, in some parts, from North 
Carolina, and not hy theold population of Georgia spreading 
out over it. We find evidence in our statute book of the 
early attraction of the Virginians thither. As far back as 
1783, a petition came from Virginia and was granted by our 
Legislature, asking that two hundred thousand acres of 
land might be reserved in this region of the State for such 
emigrants from Virginia as should wish to settle down in 
one solid, homogeneous neighborhood ; which reservation is 
noticed and ratified in the Act of 1784, organizing the coun- 
ties of Washington and Franklin. This fact, though now 
long buried, possesses some historical interest still, as bear- 
ing on the important point that the great mass of the first 
settlers, who replaced the Indians in this part of Georgia, 
came from Virginia, particularly those who established 
themselves on the best lands. And they came not scatter- 
ing]}' and wide apart, but in quick succeeding throngs, 
bringing along with thorn their wives, children and servants, 


and their household goods and gods, allured by the cheapness 
and fertility of the lands, the pleasantness and salubrity of 
the climate, the felicity of the seasons, the happy lying and 
cotnraodiousness of the country, well wooded, well watered, 
with easy wagoning access to the flourishing commercial mart 
of Augusta and with, from thence, a fine navigation by the 
Savannah river down to the excellent seaport of Savannah, 
close upon the ocean ; to all which was superadded the 
known aptitude of the country for the peculiar agriculture 
to which the Virginians were accustomed. For Whitney, 
young, poor, but restless with inborn-ingenuity, hospitably 
domesticated in the house of Gen. Greene's widow, near Sa- 
vannah, had not yet invented that most wonderful and 
beneficent machine, the cotton gin, and the cultivation of 
cotton as a commercial commodity was unknown among us, 
and tobacco was still the master staple in upper Georgia as 
well as in Virginia. There are probably some very ancient 
people yet living who remember those tobacco-growing times 
and the queer custom of rolling tobacco hogsheads to Au- 
gusta and the great rigor of the tobacco inspection ill that 

Of the immense preponderance of the immigration from 
Virginia over that from all other quarters, some idea may be 
formed from the fact that in my native section when I was a 
boy, there were scarcely any but very young people who 
could claim Georgia or any other part of the world than 
Virginia as their birth place. Scattered here and there a 
few only were to be found who were born elsewhere out of 
Georgia than in Virginia. Washington county, however, 
in the limits which it still possessed up to the time of the 
present generation, must be set down as being an exception 
to this remark. For within those limits that fine old county 
was mainly colonized from North Carolina as I have had the 
best means of knowing, and my heart will forever attest 
what an amiable andgeuerous people they and their descend- 
ants were fifty years ago, for a little earlier than then I made 
my debut in life among them and lived among them long 


enough to know and love them well and to be loved by them 
in return so at least it has always been a satisfaction to me 
to feel. Maryland, too, sent a little aid, just enough to 
enable it to be said that she bore a part in conquering these 
distant wilds. Within my puerile range of knowing, it was 
but a single family she sent, poor when they came but des- 
tined to great opulence drawn by toil from the liberal earth. 
Olten were they called Chesapikers and often in boyish igno- 
rance, I wondered why. With such exceptions as these, all 
the rest, the great mass of the people, the elderly, the mid- 
dle aged, the fully grown and not a few of the very young, 
were Virginians born. 

And not only had they come from Virginia themselves, 
but as the Trojans carried Illium unto Italy, so did 
they bring Virginia into Georgia with all her divinities 
both of the field and fireside, and they filially preserved 
and perpetuated her here, her ideas and opinions, her feel- 
ings and principles ; her manners, her customs, her tone 
and character as well as her agriculture, her system of 
labor and her whole rural economy. Nor was it a small 
district only or a few isolated spots that the Virginians thus 
overspread and impressed with their own very superior type 
of society and civilization, but nearly all the best of the 
fair and extensive region lying between the Ogeechee and 
the Oconee, and that large part besides of the country be- 
tween, the Savannah and the Cgeechee which was originally 
comprised in the glorious old pre-revolutionary county of 
Wilkes, which having been acquired from the Indians under 
the Colonial regime only a very short time before the out- 
break of the Revolutionary war, was still very thinly peo- 
pled at its close, and presented consequently very strong 
attractions fur the best class of emigrants, who came in 
troops to those parts of the State where the lands, freed 
from the Indian occupancy, were yet wild and unappropri- 
ated and, under the old Head Right system, open to the first 

And now here and heretofore (in the course of my writing 


about the Oconee war) I have developed the beginnings of 
that famed part of the State, known as Middle Georgia, and 
have found and traced its germ, showing whence that germ 
came and when, where and how it was first planted here, 
and have also shown what hard and perilous fortunes it had 
for a long time to encounter from Indian hostilities and incur- 
sions, whilst striving to maintain itself and get root and 
thrive in its new soil. But triumphing by degrees over all 
dangers and drawbacks, and blest at length with favorable 
auspices and a long spell of prosperity, it struck wide and 
deep into the generous land into which it had been trans- 
planted, and flourished apace not only within its early cis- 
Oconee limits, but rapidly spread and propagated far beyond 
those limits as new opening was from time to time made by 
fresh acquisitions of Indian territory : First, from the Oco- 
nee to the Ocmulgee in 1802 and 1805 ; then from the 
Ocmulgee to Flint river in 1821 ; and finally from Flint 
river to the Chattahoochee and our present western bound- 
ary in 1825, full forty-nine years ago, when at length the 
celebrated Black Belt across the center of the State was com- 
plete and Middle Georgia finished. 

Already, too, some eleven years earlier, the sword of Gen. 
Jackson had achieved a great territorial enlargement for 
Georgia on her southern side. For, as we have already had 
occasion to tell, by the capitulation at Fort Jackson in 1814, 
the Indians were entirely swept off by the besom of con- 
quest from the whole Tallassee country, beginning far down 
on the St. Mary's in the East and stretching all along the 
line of the then Spanish province of East Florida clean to 
the Chattahoochee in the West, being that very Tallassee 
country for the more easterly portion of which Gen. Clark 
and Gen. Twiggs, as we have heretofore seen, had at Gal- 
phintou in 1785, concluded a treaty with the Indians ; a 
treaty, however, which was not allowed to stand, having 
been, as heretofore shown, overslaughed by the treaty of 
New York in 17'JO. 

How important an extension of her jurisdictional limits 


the State was thus laid under obligations to Gen. Jackson 
and his treaty of Fort Jackson for, those who are curious 
to know may learn by consulting Early's map of Georgia 
published in 1818, where the whole of this new extension 
on our South is represented by one great blank space, not 
having been at that date yet surveyed by the State and 
laid off into counties or demarcations of any kind. 

Georgia, by the ab}ve mentioned events, seeing herself 
finally rid everywhere of the Creek Indians, began to turn 
eager, impatient thoughts to her upper or Northern side 
where the Cherokees inhabited, a people who had far out- 
stripped all our other aboriginal tribes in the progress to- 
wards civilization, and whose extreme, immovable attach- 
ment to their ancestral land seemed to place an insuperable 
obstacle in the way of our ever acquiring it by peaceful or 
humane means. But here again the powerful aid of Gen. 
Jackson was exerted in our favor, being rendered this time 
in his character and functions as President of the United 
States. Before his iron will and inflexible policy, backed 
by his despotic influence over Congress and the country, all 
opposition had to give way alike among the Indians and 
that great mass of the Northern people by whom their cause 
was espoused. It is now nearly forty years since, by the 
consummation of his measures, the Cherokees were removed 
to new homes beyond the Mississippi, and Georgia placed in 
undisturbed possession of the fine country they left behind, 
with all its mountains and vallies, its rich lands and mines, 
its health-giving climate and waters, its charming diversi- 
fied scenery and those great commanding advantages of geo- 
graphical formation and position which make it the eternal 
doorway and key between the Southern Atlantic and the 
immense transmontane valley of the Mississippi. 


I have often thought, in these sad latter days, that it was 

* something to be thankful for to have lived in this period of 

interesting progress and development of Georgia, and to 


have grown up witnessing, from childhood to manly age, 
this inspiring expansion of my native land, of which one 
effect surely was to impregn my young mind with a rich, 
varied store of dearly cherished, ever-living memories con- 
cerning the State and what I have seen and known of her, 
the value whereof, as a resource of mental comfort and lux- 
ury, I have begun to feel more sensibly as I grow older and 
become more dependent for my enjoyments on the laid up 
treasures and recollections of the past. The past is pecu- 
liarly the domain of old age, in which it loves to roam at 
large, mustering up the dead whom it has known, reviving 
bygone scenes and sights, thoughts and feelings, living over 
again its departed manhood, youth and even childhood. 
Alas! to how few is such a second, retrospective life ever 
accorded ! And how obvious, too, that whether any and 
what sort of enjoyment is to be derived therefrom, must de- 
pend, in the case of every individual, upon the nature and 
character of that past through which he has traveled and by 
which his mind has been, as it were, formed, peopled and 
furnished. Happy is he who has a past on which he can 
strongly draw and find amends for the sorrows and adversi- 
ties of the present! To the young, ardent, hopeful; to the 
active, sanguine seekers after pleasure, riches, honor; to the 
favorites of fortune, who already rejoice in the possession or 
assured attainment of their respective objects of desire, this 
resource cannot be expected to appear in a very striking 
light. But to the aged, whose active career is closed, whose 
earthly hopes are ended, and who, moreover, lie prostrate 
and helpless under the blows of fortune, it is a resource 
second only to the consolations of religion and the concious- 
ness of an upright life. 

Among all the retrospects on which my mind has long 
loved to dwell, retrospects, I mean, having relation to those 
successive expansions and that progressive improvement of 
my native State, which have, to a great extent, taken place 
under my own eyes, as it were, there have been none so 
dear and interesting as those which carry me back to the 


earlier and better days of Middle Georgia that Middle 
Georgia that was my birth place and has been my life-long 
abode, and that, for long, long years, was ever to me as a 
large earthly paradise in which 1 always felt myself every- 
where at home and in warm sympathy with every thing 
around me. And it is still dear and precious to recall her 
as she WHS in her primal period and high meridian, al- 
though now her glory is gone and she scarce knows her 
former sell amidst the staring ruin and mournful depression 
which have become her late. 

Striking indeed was the spectacle as her fair, ample spaces 
presented themselves to view in the several installments 
of their acquisition and settlement : At the first, 
spreading out in all their unmarred primeval grandeur 
and beauty, a vast and towering woodland scene, nature's 
ancient, yet ever young, bjuoming work then, passing in 
turn one after another, irorn the deep night of barbarism in 
which they had lain for unknown ages into the sudden light 
and life of high civilization. Elating to witness at the time, 
grateful to reYnember ever since, the successive expandings, 
the triumphal unfoldings of Georgia in this, her rich middle 
belt, her very zone of charms, as exulting she advanced 
by bound after bound from East to West, high-strung, hardy, 
laborious, "disdaining little delicacies," trampling down ob- 
stacles, disregarding hardships; subduing and transforming 
rude nature, forests falling before her, the wilderness bud- 
ding and blossoming as the rose at her touch, rich crops 
springing up all around her, called forth by her industry 
from the willing earth. It was the white man with the axe 
and the plow, the hammer and the saw, and in all the array 
and habiliments of civilization, superseding the Indian in 
his hunting shirt and moccasins, with his tomahawk and 
scalping knife and his bow and arrows. It was Ceres, with 
her garland of golden sheaves, her basket and hoe and her 
divine gait and air, putting an end to the reign of Pan and 
the Satyrs. And no metamorphosis the world ever saw, or 
fiction ever forged, was more beautiful, picturesque and lovely 


than the change that was wrought, and wrought, too, with 
a magical ease and suddenness and on a largness of scale 
that made the wonderful blend with the beautiful in the 
successive panoramas that were presented. 

It was a spectacle which will not occur again ; it is one 
of those things that has been seen for the last time; it will 
never more be repeated. Nature exhausted and insolvent, 
as it were, in this regard, has no more Middle Georgias, no 
more beautiful, healthful, fertile, well wooded, well watered 
Southern uplands to offer wild and inviolate as future con- 
quests to Southern industry and civilization ; nor even if she 
had, could the other requisite conditions ever be hoped for 
again. A mighty, though unavowed revolution, settling 
down firmly into permanent bad government, has rendered 
them impossible. The maxims and polity of our fathers 
have been discarded and in they- stead a senseless, vindic- 
tive, prostitute Federal despotism now reigns. Rioting and 
rotting in low-minded splendor and profligacy, paralytic and 
shrunken on its Southern side, plethoric and bloated on its 
Northern, festering with corruption all over, 'it waves its 
baleful sceptre over us inflicting on these "delightful pro- 
vinces of the Sun" a worse than Oriental fate. Already has 
it succeeded in making us from the richest and most prosper- 
ous people in the world, the poorest and most helpless. 
Already are its accursed effects widely seen and felt upon the 
very soil and face of nature, which we behold rapidly relapsing 
into uncultivated wastes and dwarf woods of second growth, 
requiring a second clearing and reclamation from hard-work- 
ing human hands. And how different a work it will be 
whenever it shall corne, from that which in bygone days an- 
imated the hearts and hands of the sturdy pioneers of this 
land in their original reclaiming of it from the wilderness. 
How little hopeful, how little elevating and stimulating will 
it be in comparison ! How slow and thankless, how drag- 
ging and unrewarding 1 And then besides, whence shall 
come the hands to do it? We have them not amongst us. 
Our whole system of agricultural labor is disorganized and 


our laborers are not only demoralized hut they hug their de- 
moralization to their bosoms as the chiefest boon of their 
new found freedom. Nor is it strange to those who know 
human nature, especially negro nature, that it should be so. 
Is there, then, any relief which may be expected from abroad? 
Is there any outer quarter to which we may reasonably look 
for tho help and reinforcement we need? None whatever. 
And most especially never shall we again see such another 
migration, such another transplanted civilization, as that 
which of yore poured from the bosom of the mother of heroes 
and statesmen at a most critical period into the lap of young 
Georgia and grew with her growth and spread with her ex- 
panding boundaries. 

This train of thought brings the mind with force to what 
is now and must long be to us the greatest and most mo- 
mentous of questions. The question, namely, of the renais- 
sance ot Georgia. And first of all, is sheto have a. renaissance? 
Is the Phoenix ever to rise from its ashes? Shall Georgia 
ever emerge from her ruins? or is it to be her destiny and 
that of her sisters of the South, to swell the long dismal cata- 
logue of conquered States of ancient and modern times, that 
have never risen from the blow that felled them, but contin- 
ued to go down, down, till at length they reached a depth 
where, hopeless of recovery, they have ever since lain and 
seemingly will forever lie, wretched, submissive, debased, 
under the horse's hoof, the despot's heel and the brigand's 
knife? If such shall not be our lot, it will not be because 
fortune is our friend or all history is not against us, but it 
will be because we shall work out our salvation from it by 
mighty and persevering effort and self-denial. For it will 
take both in full measure to rescue and save us. Yes, if 
such is not to be our and our children's lot, it will be because 
deeply sensible ot the dreadful, impending future, we shall 
gird ourselves up like men to war against it at every point 
and by every means and with all our strength of body, soul 
and mind, resolved to know no rest, no ease, till fate shall be 


fairly conquered and chained to our car, and Georgia restor- 
ed to honor, prosperity and greatness. 

But let me not run before my work. In due time, if 
strength hold Out equal to my task, this great question, 
which constantly looms up to view, will be reached and here 
and there handled as I may best be able. It is, indeed, a 
question of appalling magnitude and difficulty, but one, 
nevertheless, from which we may not shrink, one towards 
the auspicious solution of which, every son of Georgia, how- 
ever humble, is bound to bring his mite of aid. 



Besides the very superior character of the country and the 
first colonists and their descendants, there were other causes 
that lent their aid to the rapid peopling and improvement of 
the several successive new Purchases, as they were called, 
that from time to time accrued to Middle Georgia from its 
beginning at the acquisition of the'original county of Wilkes, 
down to its finishing enlargement by the second treaty of the 
Indian Springs in 1825. Noticeable among these causes was 
the lucky length of the intervals of time that elapsed be- 
tween the different Purchases, sufficient to enable each new 
Purchase to become well peopled, prosperous and solidified 
before it had to encounter competition for settlers with other 
subsequently acquired Indian lands. To which add the ad- 
vantages each new Purchase enjoyed in its turn from its 
immediate contiguity along its whole eastern side to older, 
well advanced settlements ; also that each new acquisition 


as it came in its order, although not very small, was yet not 
larger than was wanted for the fresh tide of immigration that 
was waiting to flow into it, and did flow into it at once 
and fill it up with an excellent population from the very 

Furthermore, whilst adverting to these favoring causes, 
let us not forget that capital one the humble, laborious, 
unpaid hands by which most of the harsh, heavy work was 
done, and without which such celerity of reclamation and 
improvement would have been impossible. Let not the 
poor negro and the important part performed by him, be left 
without special and in the phrase of the schools honorable 
mention. Indeed not only in Middle Georgia in the several 
installments of its early settlement, but everywhere and at 
all times in the South, he was most useful arid assistant, and 
justly acquired a hold more lasting than the relations out of 
which it grew, on the kindly feelings of those whom he 
served so long, so loyally and so well. How it is going to 
be with Southern men and women a generation or two hence 
and afterwards, cannot now be foreseen. It may be that 
they will get to be quite as dead and unsympathetic towards 
the negro as the negroes themselves were wont of old to feel 
that Northern men and women were in comparison with 
those of the South. This undesirable result is certainly that 
to which the new order of things seems to tend. But as for 
us, who were born and bred in a better day and under more 
propitious relations and influences than now prevail, such 
deadness and want of sympathy may be pronounced impos- 
sible so long as the negro continues to deport himself in his 
new state of freedom no worse than he has thus far done, in 
Georgia at least. W would be narrow, nay ! even little in 
soul, if we did not look with large charity on the demorali- 
zation which the great shock and change through which he 
has passed, have undoubtedly wrought in him. For alas ! 
are not the evidences thick around us of our having also un- 
dergone a demoralization not less great and signal, from the 
mighty shock and change, to which we likewise, have been 


subjected. Verily, kindness for the negro, a humane and 
friendly feeling towards him, a true indescribable sympathy 
with him, began with the lives, imbued the infancy and 
childhood, ran on with the growing years of the present 
generation of Southern men and women, and became so in- 
timately entwined with their very natures as to be ineradica- 
ble except by his own egregious and incorrigible delinquency 
and worthlessness. It is our true interest that he should do 
well, and attain to a higher level in morals, merit and intel- 
ligence. Never shall we be disposed to underrate him, or to 
withhold from him a generous credit for all that he shall 
deserve in the future, any more than a just remembrance of 
all he has done in the past. 

He is emphatically the child of the Sun, born of his most 
burning rays, and happily framed to live and labor, 
strengthen and exult under his fiercest glare, in the most 
firery climes. He is also eminently submissive, cheerfully 
servile in his nature, and apt and docile in a high degree in 
things that hold rather of the hand than of the mind. In 
all respects he met our Southern agricultural and domestic 
needs most admirably ; and certainly among the great ser- 
vices he rendered us, that in which he was most important, 
was the conquest of the forest and the subjugation of rude 
nature to the axe, the plow or the hoe. It is impossible to 
look back on the immense amount of hard, heavy, valuable 
work done by him in first opening the country for culture, 
and afterwards as a life-long laborer in the very fields clear- 
ed by him, and then reverse the picture and gaze upon the 
widespread ruin he was subsequently made the involuntary, 
unwitting cause, (for he was the cause of the war and all its 
consequences) of bringing upon the scenes of his previous 
useful industry, without being painfully impressed in rela- 
tion to him. How strikingly has it been his lot to be forced 
to be in the beginning, a blessing, in the end a curse to us 
and our land ! Yes ! forced both in the one case and the 
other. And now he has become a sore problem indeed ; a 
warring, unnatural, morbific element in society, incapable of 


assimilation with the body politic, upon which he has been 
hitched, as it were, by sheer extraneous violence, and by 
a tie quite as baleful and criminal as that by which the fa- 
bled tyrant Mezentius. chained the bodies of the dead to 
the living. Can the living ever impart life and health to 
the dead through a bond so revolting ? Will not the dead 
rather impart their own death and putrifaction to the living? 
And do they who, on the horrid maxim that there can be 
nothing wrong towards the vanquished, have inflicted this 
monstrous wrong on us and on human nature itself, and who 
are still exulting over their helpless victims, do they cheat 
themselves with the idea that God is no longer just, and that 
the terrible curse of bad, wicked Government which they 
have vindictively fastened on us]and our posterity, will not 
react in some way on themselves and make them and theirs 
writhe in long retributive agony under the eventual conse- 
quences of their unprecedented crime? For how can that 
great mass of ignorance, depravity and shameless unfitness, 
which they have clothed with the awful power of Government 
throughout the South, be prevented from working its deadly 
effects in National as well as in State affairs ; from sending 
corruption and ruin through the body politic of the Union, as 
well as through those of its oppressed and outraged Southern 
members ? 

Such is the appalling problem now before the whole coun- 
try, and that must needs be worked out for everlasting weal 
or woe in reference to the negro ; whose mission upon earth, 
whether viewed as he is and always has been in Africa, or as he 
was and is in America, is truly one of the dreariest and most 
impenetrable of the mysteries of God. Nor is it rendered the 
less dreary and impenetrable by recent events in this great 
nation. In no age of the world has he ever emerged from 
barbarism and slavery on his own continent. Hideous 
land ! where children are the slaves of their parents, and 
daily sold by them into slavery to others, without a pang ! 
where every subject is the slave of his Prince or Chief, 
legally saleable by him to any purchaser that comes or can 


be found, just like an ox or an elephant's tooth! Where 
every man, woman and child is liahle at any moment to be 
seized and sold into slavery, singly or in droves, by any horde 
of robbers that can succeed in catching them by night or by 
day, and where life is as little respected as liberty ! 

Such is the negro's immemorial normal condition in 
Africa. And who shall say that Heaven in revealing the 
American continent, did not design it as an asylum for him, 
too, as well as for the European ? But what sort of asylum 
and an asylum for him in what character ? Not certainly 
in that of a freeman, a citizen, a voter, an office-holder or 
legislator, for all which he was wretchedly unfit, but as 
an asylum for him in the character or status, which attached 
to him in his own country, and in which alone he could be 
anything but a nuisance in ours. And if he did not escape 
entirely from the miseries and debasement of his African 
condition by being brought to these Southern States and 
planted here in his African status, he at least escaped from 
them in large part and as far as he was worthy of escaping, 
or as it was for his good to escape. He exchanged a worse 
and a barbarous for a better a civilized form of slavery, an 
exchange which was at once a blessing to him, to us, and to 
mankind, and to which he was not only indebted for a strik- 
ing betterment of his condition, physical, moral, religious, 
but for all of civilization and Christianity he has ever at- 
tained. It is undeniable, that instead of being worsted and 
debased by falling into our hands, his condition has been 
ameliorated and his nature elevated. Under our beneficent 
despotism, he was reclaimed from the grossest barbarism and 
superstition and trained up to a degree of civilization and 
religious culture from which it is yet uncertain whether the 
gift of freedom will carry him up higher or drag him down lower. 
Behold then what the Southern system of slavery has done 
for the negro ! And yet Christendom has permitted itself to 
be shocked and stultified in regard to it and to be kindled 
into an insane rage against us because of our supposed in- 
human and unchristian wrongs towards him. Strange 


inhumanity, which betters the condition of its victims ! 
Strange unchristianess which christianizes those on whom it 
is practiced ! 

The South has a stake incomparably greater than all the 
world besides in the tremendous experiment that has been, 
by mere force of hostile arms, set on foot on her soil and 
is now proceeding in her midst and at her sole cost, yet un- 
der a vindictive, unenlightened exterior guidance and direc- 
tion. It will be the miracle of miracles if it succeeds. If by 
the blessing of Heaven, overruling the crimes and folly of 
men, such miracle should happen, our dear Southern land 
may hope eventually to rise from her ruin, a new creation, a 
veritable reconstruction, a true re-growth of order, strength, 
virtue and prosperity. But should the experiment fail, St. 
Domingo, Jamaica and sundry miserable, mestizo, anarchic 
Republics of Spanish America have already supplied exam- 
ples of what is to be our lasting doom. Moreover, if it fails, 
the world will soon witness the beginning of a mighty reac- 
tion on the whole subject of negro slavery. The demonstra- 
tion will then be deemed perfect of the negro's congenital 
and hopeless unsuitableness for freedom, and men will re- 
lapse everywhere into the old and for ages uncontroverted 
opinion that slavery is the best and therefore a just condition 
for him, and that is by far the most useful disposition that 
can be made of him in reference to the general interests of 
mankind. Again, over-crowded Europe and North America 
will be compelled, a century or two hence, by that necessity 
which is its own and only law, to turn wistful eyes towards 
the vast tropical and semi-tropical wilds of this continent, 
and to ponder the question how they may best be made 
available for the habitation and sustenance of their redun- 
dant millions. And then in case the grand trial now proceed- 
ing here of the fitness of the negro for freedom, shall result 
against him in the judgment of an enlightened, catholic 
public opinion, negro slavery will rise up stronger than ever 
in men's minds, and the negro aid will be once more invok- 
ed to solve the distressing problem of American and Europe- 


an wants by a life of compulsory labor. Compulsory, but 
not incompensated or unregulated, it is to be hoped. For 
there is no condition in society more admitting of regulation 
and modification than slavery. And surely an intelligent 
and healthy philanthrophy, aided by the growing wisdom 
and experience of Christendom, will be able to find means of 
reconciling humanity and justice to the negro with his en- 
forced civilization and usefulness in the world. 

Why should nations have more bowels for the negro than 
for their own people ? Is tenderness for their own citizens or 
subjects a characteristic of Governments when it conflicts 
with their policy, passions or ambition? Do they not 
at their pleasure tear their own men of youthful and 
middle age away from poor old parents, from dependant 
wives and children, and drive them at the point of the bay- 
onet, into a military slavery, compared with which, that of 
our by-gone cotton and tobacco fields and rice and sugar 
plantations might well be hailed as an Elysium ? And do 
they not pitilessly force them into the front ranks of battle 
as "food for gun powder/ 'whilst the magnates and leaders for 
whom they are mangled and butchered, and to whom all the 
fruits of their immolation are to enure, skulk at home or far 
in the rear, safe contemplators of the scene? And if from 
actual war and its perils they chance to come out with their 
lives, what is then their fate ? They are either kept under 
arms still as engines of tyranny over their own countrymen 
in times of peace, or they are sent back to their homes and 
beggared firesides to encounter squalid poverty and grinding 
taxation. Such is the treatment by all nations of their own 
people when, they chose to call for their service as soldiers. 
With this more than analogous case, so unanswerable and 
so suggestive, constantly before our eyes, it is certainly 
not very illogical to suppose that the time will return when 
the negro will be forced to work as well as the soldier to 
fight, if he will network otherwise, particularly in climes 
under whose fervid suns, he and he alone has been consti- 
tuted by the Almighty capable of the perennial labor 


which a state of civilization and civilized agriculture alike 
require. How monstrous, that cultivated and Christian 
men throughout all Christian nations should be continually 
subjected, by millions on millions, to be sacrificed, brutalized 
and demonized by a horrid sevitude in the bloody trade of 
war, and that at the same time and in the same nations, the 
slaves and savages of Africa should be the pets of a fatuous 
philanthrophy which cries out against their being made to 
submit to a system of labor and discipline humane and be- 
neficent, civilizing and christianizing in its character and 
effects ? 

For the present, however, and for a long time to come, if 
ever, it is quite impossible to hope that the negro's useful- 
ness among us, as compared with former times, can be re- 
stored. His future, as well as our own, is involved in dark- 
ness and anxiety. Fortunate will it be for his posterity 
and ours, if any length of years shall ever bring about mu- 
tual relations as favorable for both sides as those which war 
has destroyed. The same state of relations can never, 
should never be attempted to be established again. Their 
attempted re-establishment would lead to a shock and ruin 
even worse than that which has been the result of their sud- 
den and forcible destruction. All we can do is to wait for 
time and circumstances, to enable us from the present 
ruin to work out the best possible reconstruction for the 
remote future. In the meantime, the mind cannot help re- 
curring often, especially when in its mournful moods, to our 
never-to-be-repeated Past, a Past that was in its day griev- 
ously misunderstood by the outside world, and which 
abounded in many things that will long be cherished as 
pleasant remembrances, as well by the negro as by the white 
man, among which there will be none more pleasant than 
those connected with their commingled life and labors in the 
several new settlements, by which from time to time Middle 
Georgia was by successive leaps expanded and developed 
into her full richness and beauty. 




But not only was it the negro and the other causes I have 
noticed that imparted extraordinary animation and impulse 
to the new settlements in Middle Georgia in their infancy. 
Nay, say not in their infancy, for infancy except in its better 
and lovelier sense, they never had. They burst forth full 
grown, panoplied and almost perfect from their very birth. 
This interesting truth I had long and large opportunities of 
personally observing and knowing. From the time I was 
a small boy, I was much in Putnam county on visits to rela- 
tions, who had moved thither from Hancock. Putnam was 
then but a few years old and I continued to be a frequent 
visitor there throughout my boyhood, youth and early man- 
hood, enjoying all the time the best means of seeing and 
observing. Indeed, the last half of the year 1818, I lived 
in Eatonton, then one of the most beautiful, flourishing and 
refined up-country towns the State ever boasted, with a clas- 
sical Academy of the highest order and an overwhelming 
patronage, at the head of which was Dr. Alonzo Church, 
subsequently for many years President of Franklin College. 
At the same time there was a Young Ladies Academy of not 
less repute and merit. As a seat of education Eatonton was 
at that date second only to Mt. Zion in Hancock, the re- 
nowned Seminary of that extraordinary man, the Elder Be- 
man Franklin College, which had gone down during the 
war of 1812, under the Presidency of Dr. Brown, being now 
again in a state of utter collapse, which lasted some two 
years, consequent upon the death, in 1817, of the new Pres-. 


ident, the long and deeply lamented Dr. Finley. In my 
after years I have often thoughtfully recalled all I ever saw 
or knew of Putnam county, from my earliest to my latest 
acquaintance and observation there, and compared the coun- 
ty and people as known to me from first to last with what I 
have seen and known of the best agricultural districts and 
I populations in and out of Georgia, and I can aver that if in 
all the characteristics of a sterling civilization, Putnam 
county ever had a novitiate or minority, it had passed away 
and all traces of it had vanished before my knowledge of her 
commenced. And what was true of Putnam was equally so 
of much the larger portions of Baldwin, Jones, Jasper and 
Morgan, for they had like advantages of soil, climate, &c., 
with Putnam and a like superior population of first settlers. 
Again, the settlement of Monroe county and the country be- 
tween the Ocmulgee and Flint rivers, began in 1822, having 
been acquired from the Indians the year before by the first 
treaty at the Indian Springs. In the beginning of 1827, I 
transferred my residence to Monroe, as a centre for the prac- 
tice of my profession, and soon became well acquainted with 
the people, the county and all pertaining to them. I was 
greatly struck. I had seen by this time a good deal of the 
world, both in the North and the South, and was qualified 
to make comparisons and I could not get over my admiration 
of the growth and advancement of Monroe county. Such, 
indeed, was already her advancment that there was no room 
left for further progress except in clearing more land and 
gradually substituting fine framed and painted houses for 
the not less commodious log structures, which are necessari- 
ly the earliest style of building in all new countries. She 
had already a very dense population of the very best charac- 
ter, with the smallest possible admixture of bad or inferior 
elements. She had, too, plenty of well built churches of 
ample size, at convenient points throughout the county, and 
a stated ministry and regular services and a full attendance 
of worshipers in every church. Good schools, likewise, she 
had in every neighborhood, and he who attended the gath- 


erings of her people at churches, military reviews, elections 
and other public occasions, or saw them as a friend, visitor 
or stranger, in the sacred precincts of their homes, could not 
help being impressed with their moral worth and tone, their 
manifest respectability and intelligence, as well as their ob- 
vious worldly thrift, industry and prosperity. What is thus 
said of Monroe was applicable also to the surrounding new 
counties though not in altogether so strong a degree. For 
Monroe was considered the crack county of that Purchase. 
And now lastly, 1827 was the first year of the settlement of 
the then new territory between the Flint and Chattahoochee, 
and from that time I took my semi-annual rounds for several 
years in the practice of law through a number of new coun- 
ties and I can affirm from thorough personal observation 
that Troup, Meriwether, Coweta, Harris, Talbot and Musco- 
gee never knew a low, coarse, or rude state of society. They 
stood from the very outset fully abreast with the best por- 
tions of the State in all those things which constitute the 
pride and glory, the lovliness and charm of virtuous and 
flourishing agricultural communities. How could it have 
been otherwise? Their immigration was mainly from the 
finest parts of the State, homogeneous, and composed of peo- 
ple equal in wealth, culture and all other advantages to the 
best whom they left behind, just as had been the case with 
the first settlers of the several preceding new Purchases fur- 
ther East. Families of substance and even of affluence, of 
the highest standing, accustomed to all that is desirable in 
life, to all that wealth, education and their adjuncts could 
bring, sold out and quit their old homes and hied to the 
new virgin wilds with absolute alacrity and enjoyment. 
And why? Because they knew beforehand amongst what 
sort and how superior a sort of people they would at once 
find themselves in their new locations, and that all the ad- 
vantages and blessings of the older settlements they were 
leaving would be without delay transplanted along with 
them. Moreover, and it was an important item in the case, 
they went attended by their happy gangs of hardy negroes, 


their faithful, trained servants of the field and fireside, who 
quite unconscious themselves of the much exaggerated hard- 
ships and discomforts of a new country, were certainly a 
means of making them unfelt by their masters and mis- 
tresses and hy those whom they were apt to love still more, 
their young masters and young mistresses. 

But I must hid adieu to this seductive digression into 
which I have rather abruptly fallen at the moment when I 
was approaching another topic of a very different nature and 
which I must not allow myself to neglect. I allude to the 
Land Lottery System, a device ior converting public lands 
into private ownership, so novel, peculiar and curious and 
so full, besides, of practical consequences, that it would be 
a capital omission not to notice it treating of the original 
peopling of the trans-Oconee country. For it was there the 
system had its origin early in the present century, being 
first applied by an Act of the Legislature in the year 1803 to 
the then new Purchase, being the first beyond the Oconee, 
from whence it was afterwards extended to all our subse- 
quent territorial acquisitions wherever situated, as they from 
time to time came to hand. And, as it so happened that 
none of them were East of the Oconee, that river thus be- 
came, in addition to its other historical pretensions, the 
dividing line forever along its whole length between the 
portions of the State organized and settled under this new 
system and those peopled under the old Head Right mode. 
All East of the Oconee is Head Right, all West Land Lottery. 
Why the old mode so long in use in Geor'giaand everywhere 
else in Anglo-America, was abandoned by our fathers and 
the plan of the Land Lottery adopted in its stead, is cer- 
tainly an interesting question, and one the answer to which 
will, in all likelihood, be wholly lost in a few generations 
more. For contemporaneous history has, I believe, over- 
looked the matter as beneath its dignity, nor do I know that 
there is any account of the reasons to be found any where on 
record or in print. Yet tradition has preserved them thus 
far, and those who will search among the peculiar circum- 


stances which occurred in Georgia during the last years of 
the last century, will find in them also a clear solution of the 
novelty for novelty our Land Lottery system undoubtedly 
was. None greater and more striking has ever occurred in 
the polity of any country, in regard to its public lands. It 
was a thing wholly new under the sun. No precedent for it 
existed on all the files of the past. There was not any 
where the shadow of a likeness to it, nothing analagous 
even. Georgia originated and contrived it out of whole cloth, 
and at once it acquired a strong popularity here which it 
never lost. And yet no favor or following out of Georgia 
did it ever find. It was never copied or imitated anywhere 
else, consequently as soon as the State's public domain was 
exhausted and no more lands remained to be distributed, the 
invention died out at once right here on the spot of its birth, 
and is now laid away forever among the innumerable by- 
gone things interesting and important in their day, but 
which are never more to be repeated or seen. 

In some respects the two systems of Head Rights and the 
Land Lottery, were not unlike. In both the aim was not 
the enrichment of the treasury so much as the rapid settling 
and development of the country. Having this main object 
in view, they both regarded the public domain in the light 
of a great fund to be distributed in free gifts or allotments of 
land among the people. It was in the mode of effecting this 
distribution that their difference consisted. The manner 
under the Head Right System was, to treat the whole country 
as one great blank, open to free competition, under the rule 
that the first comers should he first served and all served in 
the order of their coming. The process accordingly was to 
issue to individual applicants, upon their paying certain of- 
fice fees and also sometimes an almost nominal price for 
the lands, certain authentic documents variously entitled 
Head Rights, Land Warrants or Warrants of Survey, by 
locating which on any particular lands, such individual ap- 
plicants become the owners of those lands and entitled to 
have a grant issued by the State therefor, provided no body 


else had already taken up and appropriated the same land. 
This mode, however, though so universal, was always liable 
to considerable objections. Under it land titles were much 
exposed to difficulties and litigation by reason of the same 
surface being often covered and always being more or less in 
danger of being covered by conflicting Warrants or Head 
Rights in favor of divers persons. And this danger was 
everywhere greater in proportion as the lands were more de- 
sirable and more sought after. Also the poorer and less at- 
tractive lands would be neglected and very slowly taken up, 
so that from both causes combined, the country was very apt 
to become in the richer localities, a hot bed of law suits and 
conflicting claims, and, in the poorer, a confused patchwork 
of appropriated and unappropriated or vacant lands, which 
would eventuate in making it difficult to know and pick out 
what was vacant from what was not vacant. Moreover, to 
the great majority of people, especially widows, orphans, 
unmarried women and to the very poor generally, it was 
not only onerous but next to impossible to make the person- 
al explorations, without which the right to take out and 
locate Head Rights was almost worthless. To all which 
if we add the frequent errors, inaccuracies and abuses grow- 
ing out of an ill-contrived, incompetent and untrustworthy of- 
ficial machinery, we behold a formidable mass of evils the 
tendency of which was to obstruct settlement and throw the 
best lands into the hands of speculators and the rich and 
crafty, to the exclusion pf a class who were by far the most 
proper objects of public bounty. 

It was, however, much less as an escape from these long 
familiar and therefore not much regarded evils, than as a 
violent, virtuous, indignant reaction against two huge, new 
fangled villainies, which were still recent and in their inten- 
sest odium, that the Land Lottery system first suggested 
itself in Georgia, and found universal favor, and was 
adopted, and permanently pursued by the State in prefer- 
ence to all other modes of disposing of her public lands. 
These two great villainies were the Pine Barren Specula- 


tion of 1794-5, and the Yazoo Fraud of the same era. In- 
censed to the highest degree by these two monstrous in- 
iquities practised upon the honor and property of the State, 
whereby organized bands of corrupt and corrupting specu- 
lators Avere enabled to cheat, swindle and make profit to the 
tune of millions, the honest, outraged people of Georgia 
resolved that in all subsequent dispositions of their public 
lands they would sacrifice all other objects to the paramount 
one of closing every door and providing every security 
against the future perpetration of such like, or any other 
land frauds or villainies. Out of this feeling so honorable 
and redeeming to the State, was born the Land Lottery 
System. Under it the public lands, as they were from time 
to time freed from Indian occupancy, were at public cost sur- 
veyed into small lots of uniform size, and marked, num- 
bered and mapped, and the whole returned to the Surveyor 
General's Office, from whence by commissioners chosen by 
the Legislature for the purpose, the State caused all the lots 
to be thrown into the Lottery wheel, and to become fortune's 
gifts as well as her own to her people. 

By this course it is obvious, every temptation and means 
for the practice of fraud and corruption was taken away. 
For who was going to bribe the members of the Legislature 
or other public functionaries, high or low, when it was ren- 
dered utterly impossible by the very system adopted, for the 
corruptor to make or secure anything by means of the brib- 
ery? Who would ever think of bribing surveyors to meas- 
ure or mark lots falsely or make forged or fictitious returns 
of surveys, when nobody could possibly know or foresee to 
whom any particular lots would be drawn, in the corning 
lottery? And how could speculators, single or combined, 
practice frauds upon the State, in regard to the lands, where 
every lot of land had already passed out of the State into pri- 
vate ownership, before it could become an object of speculation? 

In addition to all which it was a high recommendation of 
the system that it gave to all, the poor as well as the rich, 
to the feeble as well as the strong, to women as well as to 
men, and to widows and to orphans, an equal and fair 


chance. It also gave instantly to every lot of land, an owner 
with an unquestionable title, and by this means, and by 
preventing the accumulation of large bodies of land in the 
hands of (speculative individuals and companies, it promoted 
greatly the rapid settlement and improvement of the new re- 
gions, beyond any other system that could have been devised. 



Nature, when she drew near the completion of Middle 
Georgia, ere she put her finishing hand to the work, paused 
and said : What, shall be the last touch ? What crowning 
gift shall I bestow ? What impress set that shall never be- 
come commonplace? What proud, striking feature call 
forth on this Westernmost expanse that shall make it unique 
among the Midlands of the South, a charm and a glory to all 
beholders and through all time ? 

And she said I will give it a mountain, a mountain where 
mountains are not wont to be ; a mountain, too, rich in 
precious inner treasures as well as in charms attractive to the 
eye. And as she spake, Behold ! Earth, heaved and the Pine 
Mountain uprose in modest grandeur and beauty, adorned 
as to its umbrageous sides and fertile, close clinging valleys 
and-breezy cerulean summits, not only with pines, but with 
other trees also unnumerable. Far down to the South, it 
uprose in lonely loveliness and isolation, further down, and 
nearer to the sea, by more than one hundred miles, than 
any other mountain, or mountain knob, or outlier. And 
at its Eastern end, nature allowed a little river, the first 
that turned away from the Atlantic slope and went to 
woo the blue waters of the Gulf, to pierce its yet unharden- 


ed mass, and to seek the sea in a straight, onward course 
through its disrupted sides. But as the young mountain 
grew towards the West, it grew also compact and rock- 
ribhed. It swelled out larger and towered up higher, and 
at length after stretching away for some fifty miles, became 
too strong for even the mighty Chattahoochee, child of the 
eternal Alleghanies, forcing the impetuous river to bend 
conquered around its Western base, and to go fretting, foam- 
ing, writhing, tumbling over many a mile of rocky, unre- 
lenting rapids down to where Columbus sits in long waiting 
at the foot of those first falls and all their vast water power. 
But mourn not, fair Coweta,* daughter of the ever-roaring, 
soul-attuning waters ! Nor let thy firm heart fail thee un- 
der the trying fortunes that have been thy lot ! How often 
does time justify bright dreams whose fulfillment has been 
long deterred! And may it not be in coming years 
when haply redundant capital flowing thither from 
afar shall become wedded by ties tight and strong to 
hungry labor in our new-ordered South as already in other 
lands, that those who shall then roam the green earth 
shall see thy long river staircase, from Columbus to 
West Point, one climbing street of pallatian mills, from 
whose lofty windows toward that street's upper end, the 
caged operatives will often look out and regale their eyes 
and hearts with the ever fresh aerial beauty of the Pine 
Mountain. Most probably, however, ere that great specta- 
cle shall present itself, it will have for its forerunner, 
another hardly less inspiring, though of a very different 
sort. Around that mountain with its naturally fine circum- 
jacent lands, its gushing wealth of pure healthful waters, 
and its delicious, salubrious climate, it has occurred to me 
that earlier perhaps than any where else in the old cotton 
belt proper of the State, there will be more and more seen a 
white population in full, manly, working harmony with the 
new condition of things with which the Southern people 
have to grapple; a white population that will know no 

* Indian name of the site of Columbus and the Falls of the Chattahoochee. 


shrinking from rough, hard, rural toil, from daily labor in 
the field throughout the day, throughout the year, under 
summer and autumnal, as well as under wintry and vernal 
suns; a population, consequently, which will be freed from 
dependence on the negro; and under whose superior indus- 
try and management, that lair region will be made to re- 
spond fully to its great natural advantages and to become a 
fit ornate setting to the central mountain gem which it en- 

Of the various routes, two on the Eastern side of Flint 
river and five between the Flint and Chattahoochee, by 
which I had occasion to cross the Pine Mountain in old 
times when it was yet an interesting novelty, most of 
them being at points of great depression, such as the roads 
usually seek, presented no very striking views or other in- 
teresting features of scenery ; and indeed the very sight of 
the mountain itself was hidden from the approaching 
traveler in those days, by the thick tall forests which every- 
where environed it, so that the first notice of being near it 
was the actual climbing of its sides. I must, however, make 
an exception, here, of the direct route between Hamilton 
and LaGrange, which was first opened some forty-five or six 
years ago, to supersede the old roundabout way by King's 
Gap. This new road struck the mountain some few miles 
north-west from Hamilton, and by a gentle sidling ascent, 
rose gradually, above the continually expanding campaign 
below, of which the rider on horseback caught glimpses 
larger and larger through the surrounding trees, which 
grew thinner and freer irom undergrowth as he "ascended. 
Thus he was well prepared, by the time he reached the 
crest of the mountain, to turn his horse's head to the South 
and stand at gaze. It was but for a few moments, however, 
that he would thus stand, for quickly he saw that he was at 
the most depressed point of that narrow crest and that it 
stretched away westwardly by a rapid, smooth ascent over 
a bare, gravelly surface, with a thin growth of mountain 
oaks inviting the horseman by its openness. After follow- 


ing this ascent for a few hundred yards, again he stood at 
gaze, and was satisfied not to stir another step. A fair, 
vast, uniform scene, which the axe had not yet perceptibly 
marred, was embraced at once by the eye, above all blue, 
below all green, the intermediate ether filled from Heaven 
to Earth with a profusion of intense summer sunlight, one 
single ray of which would suffice to illuminate the World.* 
Away beyond Flint river on the East and beyond the Chat- 
tahoochee on the West, the hills rose to meet the kiss of the 
bending skies. Not so toward the South, not so towards 
the fierce clime beneath which the great American Mediter- 
ranean rolls. There the green earth declined lower and 
lower in the distance and sank away more and more in love- 
ly maiden withdrawal from the stooping Heavens, which at 
length when the strained eye could reach no further, de- 
scended curtain-like to the low-lying emerald expanse, shut- 
ting out from view all beyond. 

On turning to the North, the contrast was very striking. 
Whereas to the South the country sloped away in a long, 
interminable, inclined plain till it reached the sea, on the 
Northern side it rose rapidly as it receded, the rivers and all 
their tributary streams running downward toward the 
mountain. Hence the prospect in that direction was soon 
shut in and bore no comparison with the view on the South- 
ern side. 

* I should not have thought of using this very strong expression, but for my 
vivid recollection of the total eclipse of the sun in November, 1834. I stood 
watchingforthe instant of entire obscuration. It lasted but for a moment. 
The very next moment a single ray shot from the sun to the earth through 
the darkness, fine as the finest thread, intensely luminous and visible throughout 
the whole ninety-five millions of miles of length. It literally illuminated the 
world, for it fell on every eye and alighted on every object. The next instant 
a pencil of rays shot out, but it only created a greater not a more positive or 
striking illumination. To not more than one in many millions of men, is it 
given ever to see a total eclipse of the sun ; partly because it is a thing that so 
rarely occurs, partly because when it does occur, it is visible on so small a por- 
tion of the earth's surface. Well is the Astronomical Author of the American 
Almanac for the year 1834, justified in pronouncing it "the most magnificent 
and sublime of the phenomena of nature, compared with which Niagara sinks 
into mediocrity." 


But what was done by nature for the Pine Mountain was 
not all external. Deep within its howels she is and ever 
has been busy in mysterious workings. There she lias 
established her wonderful hidden laboratories: At the chief- 
est of which no chymic hand save her own mixes and medi- 
cates the inimitable waters of the Meriwether Warm Springs, 
bursting in a lavish, chrystal sluice from the Mountain's 
Northern side. No fires but of her kindling have kept them 
through ages at the same exact happy temperature, delicious 
and healthful for bathing, and it is said, too, medicinal for 
drinking. Had such waters been found in any of the moun- 
tains around ancient Rome, marble acqueducts would have 
conveyed them to imperial palaces, marble bathing apart- 
ments would have welcomed them as they came gushing. 
There is nothing elsewhere, I have often heard it said, com- 
parable to the delicate, exquisite luxury they afford. Cer- 
tainly my own experience tallies with this belief, nor can I 
conceive of anything superior. But then they are the only 
Warm Springs that I Lave ever visited. The climate is 
worthy of the waters and the site and scenery worthy of 
both. In Ante Bellum times it was a place of great resort, 
thronged by the best company, and so it will be again if ever 
there shall be again money and means at the South for 
pleasuring, and if our people shall be wise and Southern 
enough to spend their means within their own borders, and 
thus help towards adding the adornments and attractions of 
art to the beauties and blessings by which nature appeals to 
us to stay at home and cherish our own household gods. 
How much better would this be on the part of the fortunate, 
prosperous few among us than gadding abroad to empty 
their pockets and air themselves, their silks and felts at the 
North to the annual contemptious admiration of our con- 
querors, robbers, oppressors there "that some of the rebels 
should have some money left yet for summer flaunting and slwio 
after all." To your tents, oh ! Israel! To your own sum- 
mer resorts if a summering you go, even though you should 
have nothing there better than tents or log cabins to shelter 


you ! The matrons and maidens of the South whom the 
war left poor but heroines and patriots forever, stand ready 
to settle this point aright for you. To their husbands, 
fathers, brothers they exclaim, if we have money to spend, 
let it be spent here at home where it will help to sustain and 
cheer our own stricken Southern land. 

But hereabouts and not far off are to be seen other kindred 
displays of nature's liberality to the Pine Mountain. Mind- 
ful of the Southern liver, often a prey to malaria, she has 
considerately imbedded some where in the mountain some- 
what or much what of brimstone and taught her purest wa- 
ters to percolate there and to tarry long enough to become 
impregned with its virtues and .then a little way off to the 
North to bubble up in the White Sulphur Spring a resort 
dear in former times to the hepatic and to staid, quiet people. 

Nor was she unthoughtful of those who, victims of no 
malady, might merely wish to spend a summer vacation in 
relaxation and gaiety, and laying up a stock of fine health 
for the future. Behold for these, in a sweet valley to the 
South, the famed Chalybeate Spring renowned for its tonic 
properties. Where lie the great subterranean iron ore beds 
from which the generous fountain distills and draws its 
strength, none can tell, save that they are deep hidden in 
the mountain's hard bosom, safe there from the miner's pick 
and the vagrant enterprise of searchers after "Mineral Rich- 
es." And none need fear as long as that mountain shall 
stand, that these its happily ferruginated waters will ever 
fail, or lose aught of their health giving efficacy. 

Nature's rich dowry to the Pine Mountain is yet further 
augmented by another mineral spring which it has never 
been my fortune to visit, but which from all I have ever 
heard, ought not to be forgotten in an inventory of its 
wealth. 'It is the Oak Mountain Spring, so called from a 
neighboring spur or projection of that name from the main 
mountain range. Owing, it is said, to the neglect of the 
owner of the land to make or promote the making of provis- 
ion for the entertainment and accomodation of visitors, this 


spring has hitherto been little known, being frequented only 
by those who are willing and able to erect accommodations 
arid provide in all respects ibr themselves. And yet in spite 
of this drawback, its waters have acquired a high reputation 
with the few that know them, foreshadowing a wide celeb- 
rity and a thronged patronage whenever they shall fall 
under a propitious management. They have never been an- 
alyzed, and consequently their qualities are vouched for by 
no chemical tests, and the warm praises and satisfactory ex- 
perience of all who have ever given them a trial must be 
accepted for the presentas the only certificates of their merit. 
Cross we now Flint river from the West, and two or 
three miles from its Eastern bank, in what was forty years 
ago a wild sequestered glen of the mountain, close by the 
side of a little rivulet, we encounter the greatest natural cu- 
riosity of all, the greatest not only in this region, but the 
greatest and most interesting it has ever happened to me to 
see in Georgia or anywhere else. It is the Thundering 
Spring, a boiling, uprushing column, six feet in diameter, 
of purest water and finest sand intermixed. The column on 
reaching the top of its deep cylindrical well overflows in a 
ceaseless flood on the side next to the rivulet and runs into 
it. So forceful is its upward rush that no dead or living 
thing, animal or vegetable, nothing lighter than stone or 
metal, can conquer it and go down. It is a wondrous Na- 
ture's bath, the bather being doubly laved, water- washed 
and sand-washed at the same time, treated over his whole 
body to an exquisite, healthful cutaneous friction far sur- 
passing all the appliances of hygene or "adulteries of art;" 
bobbing perpendicularly up and down in the water mean- 
while, incapable and fearless of sinking. Upon first leap- 
ing into it, a man goes straight down under the water for 
an instant, and then pops straight back up to the surface 
again, like a submerged cork, and there floats at ease breast 
high out of the water, gamboling mermaid-like as long 
as he pleases. No bottom up to the time of my visit had 
ever been found to this unparagoncd well, nor had it ever 


been at all ascertained that it had any other or more solid 
bottom than the seemingly inexhaustible and consequently 
interminably deep, loose, quicksands which it was forever 
bringing to the top and discharging along with its waters 
into the adjoining rivulet. 

Of course, the hydrostatic principle which caused and 
perpetuates this spring in all its up-shooting vehemence is 
simple and obvious. But where shall we look for such an- 
other exemplification of that principle ? Not certainly 
on the Atlantic side of North America. Nor have I ever 
heard of its match anywhere in the great trans-montane 
"unknown" of the Pacific slope. I can recall nothing of 
which I ever heard or read that is a match for it except the 
Geysers of Iceland, and they are beyond doubt an over 
match . 

It is a thing that strikes the contemplative mind at once 
curiously and pleasantly that Nature should have passed by 
all the greater mountains and reserved this wonder of hers 
for one so petty and unimportant in comparison as the Pinu 
Mountain. Some where in its upper strata she saw fit to 
construct in preference to all other places, her mighty reser- 
voirs and to keep them perpetually filled with that ponder- 
ous mass of waters whose downward pressure forcing them 
along through some narrow, strong-walled subterranean 
passage, they came at last against the quicksands of this 
spot, where their further underground course being arrested 
by unknown obstacles, they burst their way suddenly and 
violently through the loose, overlying sands up to the 
Earth's surface and to the light of the sun and the wonder- 
ing eyes of men. 

The name of Thundering Spring is supposed to have been 
bestowed by the Indians whose exquisite sense of hearing 
doubtless caught sometimes the sound of the surging wa- 
ters as they raved and boiled in their sandy depths. But 
its thunders have now long been silent or at least unheard, 
unable to penetrate arid awaken the dull ear of Civilization. 




King's Gap in the Pine Mountain, a few miles above 
Hamilton in Harris county, on the road to Greenville, is the 
last memento now remaining of a set of Indian Trails of that 
name that in Indian times perforated in various directions 
the upper part of the region between the Flint and Chatta- 
hoochee and, I feel certain, also of a much larger scope of 
the Creek Territory to the East, South and West. I first 
visited the country North of the Pine Mountain, in the 
Spring of 1827, when the Indians had just left and civilized 
settlement was just beginning. Carried by business, I cross- 
ed Flint river at Gray's ferry not much above the Mountain 
and took what had been King's Trail, but which by that 
time had been widened into a rude wagon road by the new 
settlers having chopped away a few bushes along its sides. 
It conducted me to a place called Weavers, the temporary 
seat of Justice for Troup county, which originally extended 
from river to river. Having delivered to the newly elected 
but yet uncommissioned Clerk of the Superior Court, my 
client's Informations against sundry lots of land charged to 
have been fraudulently drawn in the then recent Land Lot- 
tery, I enquired how I could get to Bullsboro, the just 
chosen judicial site of Coweta county, where I had similar 
business. Nobody could tell. Luckily the newly elected 
sheriff arrived at this juncture to lea,rn whether his commis- 
sion had yet come from Milledgeville. He told me there 


was no road to Bullsboro and that my best way would be to 
go home with him, on the Western side of the county, and to 
take a trail the next morning that ran up the Chattahoochee. 
I thanked him and went with him, resuming the same King's 
Trail l>y which I had come from Flint river and which struck 
the Chattahoochee at what is now West Point. Nor did it stop 
there, for seven years afterwards, in 1834, when the Indians 
were yet in the Alabama part of their country, I traveled 
along the continuation of this same trail, a lone horseman, 
from West Point to Tallasee at the foot of the first falls of 
the Tallapossa river, from whence the trail still continued, 
passing through Tuckabatchee, the Creek Capital and famed 
seat of the Big Warrior, and extending from thence to the 
old French Fort Toulouse, afterwards Fort Jackson, and also 
to Little Talasee, the still more famous seat of the renowned 

The next morning my Sheriff-Host refusing everything but 
my thanks for his hospitality, told me I had nothing to do 
but to take another King's trail which he directed me how 
to find at no great distance from his house, and to follow it 
up the river some twenty or twenty-five miles, whea I must 
begin to look out for some route striking into the interior of 
the county of Coweta. He knew there was such a route, but 
not how far off it was. I soon found myself in this second 
King's Trail ascending the country, and as I jogged along in 
the little, narrow, well defined path, ji*t' wide enough for a 
single footman or horseman, and aldng which no bush had 
ever been cut away, no wheel had ever rolled, King's Trail 
began to be a study to me, and I began to wonder what 
great Indian trader, of whom I had never heard, was great 
enough to have given his name not to one Indian trail only, 
but to two. 

At first I could not help feeling some misgiving as to the 
persistent continuity of my little path, and dreaded lest it 
might give out or in the phrase of the new settlers "take a 
sapling" and leave me alone in the trackless woods ; and 
once indeed, when the day was pretty far advanced, it seemed 


to divide, and both tracks were so dim that I was in 
doubt, which to take. But clinging almost instinctively to 
the Western or river side. I soon found myself riding along 
the bank of a considerable water course which I felt no 
pleasure at the prospect of having to ford. While this anx- 
iety was yet strong upon me, suddenly the trail plunged 
into a piece of rich bottom land, evidently an old Indian 
clearing, now, however, grown up into a very dense thicket 
of young trees and clustering vines which overarched and 
darkened the narrow way. But still the little path contin- 
ued distinct and unobstructed, and when I was expecting 
every moment to come where I should be obliged to risk 
fording the stream, behold ! I began to ascend a hill, and 
it grew lighter and lighter and soon I was on a clear open 
hill-top with the shining waters of the Chattahoochee, flash- 
ing in the sunlight before me and a plain open road invit- 
ing me, leading eastwardly from the river. Few contrasts 
have I ever encountered in my life more thrilling and joyous 
than the almost instantaneous transition from that dark 
thicket to this bright scene. It was Gray son's Landing, on 
which I stood, as I not long afterwards learned a place 
much noted in old times as a crossing in the Indian trade.* 
It took its name from Grayson, a Scotchman, who was a 
great Indian trader eighty or ninety years ago, and whose 
name sometimes occurs in the American State papers on In- 
dian Affairs. He tracked and traveled and livedamong the 
Indians until becoming rich and attached to them, he ended 
by taking an Indian wife and settling down permanently in 
the Indian country at the Hillabee towns, some distance to 
the West or South-west from this point on the Chattahoo- 
chee. At these towns it was, if I remember aright, that 
Col. Willet unexpectedly first met McGillivray in his great 
Mission as Washington's confidential agent in 1790. It 

Grayson's Landing is now, I have heard, not quite so noted a crossing as in 
old Indian times, though it is still a crossing, under the name of Philpot's 
Ferry, in Heard County, just below the mouth of New River, which is the 
identical river, then certainly entirely new to me, that 1 so much Ireaded to 
ford in the spring of 1S27, 


was also through these same towns and along the trading 
route that led from them to the river at Grayson's Landing, 
and from thence onward hy the way of the Stone Mountain 
to the Savannah river, keeping all the while within the In- 
dian Territory, (for Georgia and the Creeks were then at 
war) that Col. Willet soon after escorted the great ambassa- 
dorial cavalcade of Creek Chiefs to New York, headed by 
McGillivray himself, the Sovereign Chief. 

As I paused for a while on the beautiful overlooking hill 
that sloped down to the river bank, gazing around and 
breathing freer, I little thought on what historic ground I was 
standing, or that the Eastwardly road, the sight of which 
WHS still making my heart leap, was only a very modern 
widening of still another King's Trail a fact I learned sub- 
sequently. It had been wrought into a wagon road during 
the previous winter by the hauling of corn and piovisions 
from the not very remote old settlements to be floated down 
the Chattahoochee from this point for the supply of the new 
settlers on both sides of the river. 

My faithful steed felt not less than myself the inspiring 
change from the petty trail he had been threading all the 
day through the woods to the bright open track that now 
solicited him, and he sprang forward with rapid, elastic 
steps that brought me a little after nightfall to my destina- 
tion, rude but hospitable Bullboro, some two or three miles 
North of the beaten road along which I had been pushing 
hard during the afternoon. My business was quickly des- 
patched the next morning, and again in the saddle, two more 
days of lonely, meditative travel found me at my new home 
at Forsyth and at the end of my tour, but not at the end of 
its fascinating effect. My mind still remained under a 
charm, as it were, and most especially did that ubiquitous 
King's Trail pursue and haunt me, demanding solution of 
the name it bore, demanding to whom, great among the 
Indians in trade or in any other way, that name had ever 
belonged that it should have become the favorite designation 
of so many of their important trails. But nobody did I ever 


encounter who was able to enlighten my ignorance or aid 
my enquiries or in the slightest degree appease my curiosity. 
To all which add, that soon afterwards I had occasion to 
make another trip to the new country, which revealed to me 
still another,- a fourth King's Trail, the one deflecting from 
the Gray's ferry route, through the Pine Mountain at King's 
Gap, and passing from thence down to where Columbus now 
stands. And thus the interest of the curious question 
which had beset me was intensated and increased. It per- 
sued me more and more and wrought itself finally into my 
sleeping as well as rny waking hours. 

I dreamed that I was in the saddle again, and that I had 
already been there a long time, wending along yet another 
King's Trail, one tending downward in its course towards 
the Atlantic wave and Orient Sun. Already I was far gone 
on my journey, far down on the ridge which divides the 
waters which prefer the Gulf from those which go into the 
Ocean. The pine forests were already thickening with their 
gloom the dim dubious twilight that enveloped me, sacred 
ever to dreams. Methought I was drawing near the land of 
Tallassee so dear of old to the Indian heart, and remember 
ed not that neither there, nor where I actually was, nor 
along the Atlantic Coast nor in the high uplands through 
which my long darksome ride had stretched, were the In- 
dians any longer to be found. It was not night, it was not 
day. No stars were out, there was no sun, no moon, and 
yet the sky looked blue through the sombre air. The great- 
er beasts were all in their lairs and no large living thing 
was astir save me and my horse. But the owl's hootings 
and the whippoorwill's night-long, monotonous lament sere- 
naded me on my way, and ever ami anon the leather-winged 
bat flitted before me, saluting, whilst the tall, heavy topt 
trees glowred solemnly over the sleeping, semi-nocturnal 
scene. The further I went the more I fell in love with my 
dear, unfailing little path, it was so single, so unerringly 
true and right and safe. Calm was my faith that it would 
not desert me nor lead me into evil or peril, though I was 


without any distinct thought whither it was carrying me 
save only that it was tending seaward. And to the sea at 
length it came, and with lovely, modest assuredness and di- 
rectness, crossed the shelving, sandy beach and kissed the 
vast Ocean's briny lip. My horse planted his fore-feet fet- 
lock deep in the edge of the sea in sign of ready obedience 
and stood awaiting my intimations. He gazed with me on 
that great convex liquid world, and with me vainly strained 
his vision to dcsory its invisible bounds. But this unavailing 
strain of the eye continued not long. Old Neptune, proud 
of his Trident and wantoning in his sea-controlling power, 
kind also to the uneasy, perplexed surveyor of' his tossing 
domain, struck a divine blow on the topmost billow of the 
remote outline, and quickly the ever-bending, never-ending 
convexity of the dread waste of waters subsided and became 
a vast, level, aqueous plain, on which a slight mist rested 
low, and I beheld the Halcyon brooding and hatching her 
young on the still wave. No upswelling watry sphere inter- 
cepted now my vision which lengthened immeasurably, ade- 
quate to the broad, flat, ocean floor that spread out before 
me, beyond which I caught a view of the old World and of 
Georgia's parent land, and saw, too, wonderful to tell, rny 
tiny little King's Trail recommencing plain on the British 
shore at the very water's edge and inviting me over. The 
dim trans-Atlantic East was beginning by this time, how- 
ever, to redden under the rays of the yet unseen !Sun, 
when Lo ! on a sudden, all my dream vanished, for dreams 
cannot stand the sun, and left me and my true steed stand- 
ing where we were statue-like and aghast forever. 

And now for days and weeks this dream haunted and har- 
rassed me more than King's Trails had ever done so im- 
portunate was it to be interpreted. How stolid I was ! How 
slowly penetrable my mind to the light ! But the dream 
pursued me none the less for my dullness, and I had no op- 
tion but to work and worry, as best I could, at its solution. 
At last in a happy moment, light began to break in by piece- 
meal upon me; and first, it occured to me how devotedly 


loyal to the British Crown, all the Indian Traders, great and 
small, of the Colonial Era were the MeGillivrays, the Mc- 
1 1> toshes, the McQueens, the Barnards, the Galphins, the 
(iravMHis, the Tautens and others. Then it slowly came up 
to my mind what mighty influence these shrewd, enterpris- 
ing traders acquired among the simple savages, and how 
they employed that influence and their utmost art besides in 
making them, too, loyal and devoted to the mighty Traus- 
Atlautic King, whom they were taught riot only to rever- 
fiiiv as their Great Father, but almost to worship as their 
more than human Earthly Sovereign. And then next, who 
does not know that all over Great Britain, the Public 
Roads are and ever have been called the King's Highways 
as well in common as in legal parlance? And now putting 
all these things together, I knew (for indeed it was very 
plain) whence King's Trails came and how they got their 
name ; for that the Indian traders who had been accustomed 
across the ocean in their old country to hear the broad pub- 
lic roads there called by the King's Title, had naturally as 
well as interestedly bestowed the same title on the narrower 
trading and traveling routes through the Indian country 
here, practicable only for pedestrians and ponies and pack- 
horses. The Indians themselves easily accepted the desig- 
nation, partly through mere indifference, partly from real 
homage for the great King and their estimation of his trad- 
ing and official subjects who came among them, as they were 
taught to believe, not to make war upon them, or to wrong 
them out of their lands, but for better and more agreeable 
objects. Thus King's Trails in Georgia were legitimately 
descended and named from the King's highways in Great 
Britain. Behold ! then here, how clear the evidence and 
argument (though suggested by a dream) that these King's 
Trails not only had their derivation from England, but were 
of no mean lineage there, but of undoubted right royal gen- 

Nor is this although a curious, by any means a sing- 
ular case of high loyalty in colonial times delighting to 


express itself by the bestowment of the regal name. The 
State of New York has to this clay, a King's county and a 
Queen's. Others of the Old Thirteen the same or similar. 
Maryland, for instance, has her Queen Ann and Prince 
George, Virginia her King and Queen, a King William, a 
King George, to say nothing of her Princes and Princesses 
of counties. South Carolina cherishes her King's Mountain, 
glorious by Eevolutionary battle and blood and victory. 
And her Charleston, Queen City once, sitting lowly and 
beautiful, Venice-like, in the lap of the sea, radiant with 
pearls, yet richer far in wealth of the soul than of the mines ! 
She, although stricken and in sackcloth now, cannot but take 
pride still in that King Street of hers, Royalty's namesake and 
. remembrancer, felicitous beyond compare in its superb sweep 
of slowbending, graceful curvature and in the stirring scene 
of cultured life and animated traffic that used to pervade 
its farstretching, crescent-like length ; narrow, but the more 
beautiful because narrow, darkened and adorned at once by 
its tall rows of imposing houses on either side, softly illum- 
ed at the same time by Heaven's overarching azure as its 
mild-beaming, eternal sky-light. In like manner, as long 
as King's Gap shall remain or as the tradition of King's 
Trails shall last, Georgia may lay a true, an ancient, and 
though a modest, yet not an unromatic claim to somewhat of 
her own, reminding of Kingly State and times, aod of the 
sceptered hand and gemmed brow our Ancestors loved and 
honored once, but which, in their greater love for freedojn, 
they hastened to renounce and abjure for a Republic under 
which the hapless people of the South now lie prostrate, 
victims of a system of mis-government, oppression, wrong 
and corruption hideous to contemplate, diabolical to inflict, 
terrible and debasing to endure, and which is assuredly des- 
tined in its miserable effects, to be not much worse felt in 
the long run by its victims than by its perpetrators, who in 
their insane, vindictive blundering to enslave and ruin us, 
are forging chains for themselves likewise, and are even 
now blindly pulling down the temple of American liberty in 
ruins on their own heads. 




Having been led in speaking of the causes of the Land 
Lottery System, a couple of chapters back, to mention the 
infamous Pine Barren Speculation of now some eighty years 
ago, it is not inopportune to pause here for the purpose of 
branding a little more memorably that very extraordinary 
and nefarious piece of money seeking greed and criminality. 
Indeed, the fact that its revolting effect on the popular mind, 
combined with the still greater shock of the Yazoo Fraud, 
conduced largely to the subsequent abandonment by the 
State of the old Head Right mode of disposing of the pub- 
lic Territory and the adoption of the Land Lottery System 
in its stead, imparts to it no small historic interest and 
gives it a valid claim to be noticed and rescued from oblivi- 
on. To this end we now shift the scene, and quitting the 
rich, variagated, oak and hickory lands of the Upcountry, 
changeful with the seasons from grave to gay, from green 
to sere, content ourselves a while with gazing on the dreary 
platitude and unchangingness of regions nearer the sea, sad 
with perpetual verdure, with streaming, ever-gray long 
moss and the aerial moaning of the lordly pines over those 
vast and lonely wilds. Here the sandy barrens salute us 
the land of the gopher and salamander, of fish and game, of 
wiregrass and wild cattle and of herdsmen and hunters 
almost as wild, who love their rough lives of desultory labor 
and leisure, never fearful of want, however scanty their 
store in hand, for the woods and streams hold always stores 
for them, which their pleasure in capturing is scarcely less 
than their zest in enjoying. How beneficent is God ! Who 
conciliates to the denizens of every land the homes he has 


given them, and has rendered even these uninviting and 
never to be cultivated realms of nature dear to the hearts 
and sufficient for the wants of the unsophisticated dwellers 
there. Nor dear to their hearts only, but to those likewise 
of all the truly filial children of Georgia wherever they in- 
habit, from the mountains to the sea. To all these her broad 
maternal bosom has everywhere a touching fascination and 
charm. They love every inch of her soil, broken or level, 
sterile or fertile, all her upcountry and lowcountry, her oaky 
woods and piny woods, her hills and dales, her mountains 
and valleys, her forests and fields, her rivers and streams, 
her towns, her cities and her rural scenes. For all, all is 

Montgomery county, created in 17' : lo, by cutting off the 
lower end of Washington, originally comprised all the coun- 
try, now embraced in several counties, beginning from the 
upper line of Emannel as first formed, and extending from 
the Ogechee on one side and the Oconee and Altamaha on 
the other as far down as the upper edge of Liberty county. 
The whole was one immense, sterile pine forest, the same 
that so much impressed the celebrated English traveler, 
Captain Basil Hall, forty-six years ago, whose interesting 
and graphic account of it* is now and will for centuries to 
come still be as true and applicable as it was when written. 
Here flow the Ohoopies the Canoochies, the Yam-Grandy 
and other streams notorious for barren lands, the haunt of 
deer, and for limped waters rich with fish. Here nature 
reigns and will continue to reign supreme as she has done 
for ages past, secure in vast barrens not less mighty than 
mountains and marshes and deadly climes under equatorial 
suns, in giving perpetuity td her throne against man's in- 
vasions. Here, too, as in other similar pine regions of the 
South, even war and a dire peace prolific of curses every- 
where else, have alike swept over innocuous, inflicting no 
change. It is grateful to feel that there are some things of 
earth, not amenable to change at man's hands ; some things 

*See his Travels in North America in 1827-1 S'28. Vol. 2. Chapters 19-20. 


sacred, stable, ineffaceable in this fickle, fleeting, ever- 
perishing world, tbe prey of crime, revolution, ruin and de- 
cay. Hinv this feeling deepens by time arid thought and 
renders the eternal monuments of nature of whatever sort 
dearer and dearer to the soul of him who has always loved 
her in all her diversities and who has grown old and sad, 
contemplating the frailty of men and the vanity and tran- 
sientness as well of their proudest as of their poorest works. 
It was in this wide extended, sterile solitude that the 
scene of the Pine Barren Speculation was laid by its authors 
and projectors. Here they found fitting soil for sowing their 
crop of villainy, fitting ground whereon to plant the lever 
of their scheme of fraud. Here they beheld outspread and 
neglected millions of barren acres so barren as not only to 
have attracted no immigration but no attention. No settlers 
were drawn thither even by the gratuitous terms of the 
Head Right system of that period, requiring the payment of 
nothing but office fees. Whilst the counties of Green and 
Hancock, which had been carved out of the upper end of 
Washington, had already become populous and flourishing 
communities, the huge lower section now converted into 
Montgomery county, remained a desolate waste. But these 
lands, though they had no attractions for honest, industri- 
ous settlers, presented a temptation at once, novel and pow- 
erful to unprincipled speculators, who did not suffer them to 
remain long unnoticed after they were set off into a separate 
county. Lynx-eyed fraud quickly saw its opportuni- 
ty in the very neglect to which they were abandoned, and 
pounced upon them for its own vile enrichment soon after 
the new county was formed. It conceived the bold, cunning 
idea of coining their very barrenness into an infamous value 
never before imagined, and to thi end it devised and work- 
ed out that monstrous scheme of villainy which was still the 
subject of loathing reinemberauce and mention in my early 
boyhood. Its originators and managers had made up their 
minds from the outset to shrink from no exorbitance of in- 
iquity that might be deemed conducive to their ends ; and 


they played accordingly an intrepid and magnificent game 
of i'elonious knavery. Fraud, iorgery, bribery, perjury 
such were the crimes that stood in their way, but at which 
they balked not. The incorrupt mind recoils from the hor- 
rid catalogue and would fain regard the story of so much 
diabolism as a distempered fable. But, alas ! the daily ex- 
perience which surrounds and shocks us, or rather has 
ceased to shock us in these our own times, forbids such a 
solace. In the presence of the stupendous pecuniary atroci- 
ties which are now of familiar occurrence, practiced alike 
by men in private and public life, the grossest villainies of 
the past are dwarfed and vindicate themselves as at once en- 
titled to a. stronger belief and a mitigated infamy. 

The plans of the miscreants were well laid and unflinch- 
ingly followed out. In the vast uninhabited woods they 
planted or found at wide distances the necessary accomplices 
and tools : First, men who were to act as magistrates and 
form one of those peculiar legal devices of that day called 
Land Courts ; of which the function was to issue or rather to 
profess to issue the land warrants which were the initial 
step under the Head Right system. Next, other men were 
planted or found, who as county surveyors, were to make or 
rather to profess to make and return the locations and surveys 
contemplated by these Warrants. And the pains were also 
taken to have all these official accomplices regularly elected 
and commissioned to the offices they were intended to abuse; 
their election to which was a thing not difficult to effect 
among the ignorant, unsuspecting settlers scattered thinly 
over the immense wilderness. And it was this obvious fa- 
cility of electing men that could be used as tools, that un- 
doubtedly stimulated and encouraged, if it did not originally 
suggest, the idea of the great Pine Barren Speculation, the 
whole machinery of which stood on these basely designed 
elections. Here^ too, moreover, we see the reason why this 
fraud followed so quickly after the formation of Montgomery 
county and had not been attempted or ever conceived sooner. 
For as long as the Territory remained a part of Washington 
county, the voters entitled to a voice in these elections were 


altogether too numerous, intelligent arid vigilant to have per- 
mitted any hope of success in such a conspiracy. 

Organized now and ready to enter on their flagitious 
work, these vile persons had every thing entirely to them- 
selves and in their own hands. There were none to inter- 
fere with them, or emharrass, or deter, and they carried out 
their projects without fear and with gratuitous boldness 
and extravagance. Not satisfied with seizing on the two or 
three millions of acres that really existed in the new county 
and casting them into their mint of fraud, they trebled the 
number and went to the length of issuing and returning 
into the Surveyor General's office, Land Forgeries to the 
amount of six or seven millions of acres. This fact appears 
by two printed Reports, now before me, made by the Survey- 
or General in 1839 to a special Finanbe Commission, compos- 
ed of Judge Berrien, Judge Wm. W. Holt and myself. One 
of these Reports presents the actual number of acres in each 
county of the State ; the other, the number in each county 
as shown by the maps and Records of the Surveyor General's 
affice.* Upon comparing the two, it will be seen that the 
number appearing by the official maps and records as lying 
in the original county of Montgomery, exceeds the true 
number, by several millions. How did such a monstrous 
excess get into the Surveyor General's office and upon the 
maps and records there ? 

There never has been, there never can be but one answer 
to this question. Fraud and forgery aided by official con- 
nivance and corruption, afford the only solution. There is 
no other possible way of accounting for the phenomenon. 
Had the lands been but moderately fertile or had they pos- 
sessed any other qualities or accidents of a nature to confer 
value and make them the object of desire and competition, it 
would not have been strange for the same thing to have 
happened to them from these causes as from like reasons 
has often happened elsewhere in rich new countries under 
the Head Right system : namely, that after all the veritable 
land should have been actually and in good faith first 

*St-r copies of these statements at the end of this chapter. 


taken up and covered once with warrants and surveys, the 
avidity of acquisition might have heen so great as to lead to 
the same identical lands being afterwards again and again 
taken up by other persons, thus covering or, in the expres- 
sive phrase coined specially for the case, shingling the coun- 
try with layer after layer of successive competing Head 
Right warrants and claims , all which being returned to the 
Surveyor General's office, necessarily occasioned a great ex- 
cess of land on the maps and records there beyond what ex- 
isted in nature. But it would be glaringly absurd to 
account in this way for the redundant millions in the Sur- 
veyor General's office of the utterly worthless lands of 
which we are now speaking ; lands, which nobody wanted 
or would have even as a gift, and for which there never has 
been the least competition. Why, as late as 1839, not more 
than half the land in that region was (judging by the 
Comptroller General's report, made to the above mentioned 
Finance Commission*) deemed worth owning and paying 
taxes for ; although the lumber trade had by that time 
given some value to portions of it lying near the rivers, that 
had previously been valueless. 

Thus the spuriousness of an immense proportion of the 
surveys and returns in question is manifest. But though 
the most of them were undoubtedly the progeny of fraud 
and forgery, yet not all were so. A good many genuine 
ones were with covinous shrewdness and design intermixed, 
, and this intermixture of somewhat that was genuine was an 
important, well considered point in the scheme of fraud, in 
as much as it tended to give color and unsuspectedness to 
the muehwhat that was false, fraudulent and fictitious. 

But not only was it a part of the scheme that genuine 
surveys should be thus intermingled with the spurious in 
the returns made to the Surveyor General's office, but it was 
also requisite that good lands should be lyingly intermin- 
gled with the barren on the maps and records there. For 
all the vast quantity of land real and fictitious that was 

*See Comptroller General's report at the end. 


returned into the Surveyor Gener il'a office as having been 
duly surveyed and taken up, could have been turned to no 
profit by the conspirators but lor another adroit stroke of 
villainy to which they had recourse and without which their 
whole plan would have broken down. I allude to the false 
land-marks put on the maps and plats of the surveys. 
Something base and fraudulent in this way had to be done 
to enable them to palm off any large amount of these pine 
barrens as rich lauds. This was, indeed, the vital point in 
their nefarious strategy, and in order to make sure of it, 
they caused the different kinds of trees indicative of a rich 
soil, such as the oak, the hickory, the walnut, dogwood, 
buckeye, etc., to be entered as comer and station trees on the 
maps of the surveys : Not however on the maps of all the 
immense number of surveys which they had caused to be 
fabricated and returned, but. on enough of them to answer 
their purposes, a judicious, deceptive interspersing of lands 
marked as rich among the barrens which notoriously formed 
most of the county. Suspicion was thus kept down and an 
imposing verisimilitude attained, and along with it as mudi 
land feigned to be rich as they could expect to be able to 
work off on ignorant second purchasers or as they would be 
willing to pay Grant Fees for. 

For there was no evading the payment of the Grant Fees, 
which, though little in each case, would in the aggregate 
have amounted to a great sum. Up to this point, fraud and 
forgery had cut off costs and labor making both very light, 
but for which, the outlay in office fees requisite for their 
vast operations would alone have been an insuperable iru- 
pediment in their way. But now fraud and forgery could no 
longer be made to serve- any purpose. Their turn was at an 
end as soon as the lorded documents of survey were accepted 
and registered in the Surveyor Gene nl's oliice. Thence- 
forward what had to be done was simply to get from that 
oflice certified copies of these maps and surveys, upon 
which being presented ami passed at the rest of the State 
House offices ; (among others, at the Treasun*, where the 
Grant Fees were paid and a receipt countersigned therefor,) 


genuine Grants under the Great Seal and the Governor's 
signature were issued as a matter of course, except in cases 
where a caveat had been interposed, a thing which never 
happened in relation to these lands, there being no compe- 
tition for them. 

The actors in this huge, concatenated fraud had now ac- 
complished so much of their programme as was to be carried 
out in Georgia. They had sowed the seed here, but they 
had to go elsewhere to reap their villainous harvest. Had 
they dared to offer their fraudulent and fictitious lands for 
sale here where their worthlessness and nothingness were so 
well known, it would have led to the public explo- 
sion of their whole plot and to their own no small 
endangerment, besides, for those were times in which 
such caitiffs felt all the while in Georgia no little dread of 
a certain Judge Lynch who not'unfrequently, disgusted with 
the too slow footsteps, or too dim vision, or too feeble or too 
uncertain arm of the more regularly constituted powers, 
came to their n-lief by a prompt assumption of 
their difficult duties. These speculators therefore in 
barren lands, at once daring and cautious, betook them- 
selves (as was indeed their plan from the outset) to other 
localities, to the distant places where their unavowed and 
unsuspected copartners and confederates lived and whence 
they themselves had come with evil, vile intent among us. 
And there they and their coadjutors failed not to find those 
who fell victims to their swindling arts. To what extent 
they succeeded in effecting sales, in turning the barrens of 
Montgomery into gold in their own pockets and involving 
innocent, deceived people in loss for their own base emolu- 
ment, is of course unascertainable now, and has long since 
ceased to be a matter of interest or curiosity. That their 
success was not small, however, is probable from all the cir- 
cumstances of the case and from the general rumor and 
belief which descended from those times down to a later period. 

For to those remote parts whither they hied to enact the 
crowning scene of their villainy, to find the bag of gold at 
the end of their tortuous drama of iniquity, fame had carried 


exciting accounts of the fertility and advantages of the Ocouee 
country. Nor was she careful in her loud, undiscriminating 
praises, to make due distinction hetvveen the richness of the 
upper portion and the sterility of the lower. People afar off 
were thus greatly misled and prepared to he easily practised up- 
on and cheated, and were, moreover, carried away by the cheap 
rates at which these supposed fertile lands were offered for 
sale by men whom they cost very little more than the 
crimes they had committed in connection with them. And 
when in addition, the solemn grants of the State of Georgia 
were paraded under the autographic signatures of her Gov- 
ernor and great State House officers, with her huge, 
dangling, waxen Great Seal appended and with also certified 
plats of survey attached to each grant under her Surveyor 
General's official hand, richly marked besides with natural 
growth indicative of a fertile soil, it is by no means surpris- 
ing that thousands should have been befooled and swindled. 
And that such was the case contemporaneous story indig- 
nantly told and was not unsupported by after-occurring 
facts. For many a bootless pilgrimage from distant States 
and sections was made years afterwards by the sufferers and 
their agents in search of those fabled lands. In vain, how- 
ever, did they thread the woods and interrogate the trees. 
No land marks, no corners or stations could they ever find 
responsive to the well drawn, false speaking charts they 
brought along with them. No oaks, and hickories, no wal- 
nut, dogwood or buckeye, nor any kindly soil did they ever 
encounter to cheer their wearisome cxplorings or raise their 
sunken spirits. But barren wastes spread out sad and in- 
terminable before their eyes, and the tall sighing pines 
sounded a lugubrious sympathy in their ears. The golden 
dreams they had been made to cherish were dispelled for 
ever. Reluctantly they awoke to the bitter reality of being 
the victims of a great concocted turpitude, and with heavy 
hearts wended their way back to their far off homes, full 
of indignation, and cursing and hating more than ever 
before the villains and villainies of the world. 


The folloiving statement was furnished from the Surveyor 
General's office, June 11 Ih, 1833, to the Finance Commis- 
sion, showing the ACTUAL number of acres in each county. 

Appling 080.420 Laurens 450.500 


899 ''97 


340 '>03 



Liberty .. . . 

393 000 




1 "0.720 


005 600 

;-t;0 ()',-, 

'40 308 


113^0301 Madison 

l'J4 800 

720,0001 Marion 



147,903 ! Mc.Intosh 
. .. 482.180 Meri wether ... . 

335 885 


439,130, Monroe 

. . 302 (523 


208,800 Montgomery 

407 080 


179 ''00 


407 740 


91 903 


400,901 Netfton 

250 -'99 


320,000 i Oglethorpe 
. l> 82 881 i Paulding . 

423 017 

Cr WC ford 

250,319' Pike 

20(5 902 

707,009 Pulaski 

515 355 


281 '.3 

Riil mil 

'>4' I "> 1 ~ 


ll'> 9<v; 


. 050,093 Randolph 

519 9(58 


(502,549, Richmond 

'>01 000 

310 400 Scriven 

34") 000 


3'< > 7 080 - StfiWHrt 

309 857 



....218 801 



331 408 




80 400 


499 00 

Tat nail 

7(51 000 

Tfilfnir . 

904 900 


530 572 i Thomas 

900 7 - '0 

253 440 Trouo 

9 80 100 


347 08'} 


419 1(58 


403 470 


184 580 


258 ^11 


399 603 

105 70S 


1(54 015 

Warren ... 

''74 OOO 


333 540 



380 100 


337 ')0 




Wilkinson . 



. 370 3">0 






Statement furnished June 17/A, is:!'.), to the Finance Com- 
mission by the Surveyor General of the number of acres of 
linid in each county of the State agreeably to the. MAPS and 
of his office. 

Laurens 450.560 

Lee 310,203 

Liberty S7O,CKO 

Lincoln 11.621 

Lmvndcs 1.23S, 203 

Luinpkm .".'.it;. 02.". 

Macon 2o.3os 

Madison 39.5 ix 

Marion :;:.n. :.<;_' 

Mclntosh 667.251 

482,180 [ Meriwelher 

... 439,130 Monroe 302.623 

:.:..i;i9 Montgomery 7,43(5,995 

....223,986 Morgan 228,480 

Appling .............................. 684.426 

Bak.-r ................................. S'.Ht. _".)? 

.Ha Id win .............................. 159. 982 

Bibh .................................. 152,563 

Bryan ................................. 111.091 

Burke ................................ 619.uo<5 

But is .................................. 113,030 

Camden ............................ i,92S,r.8S 

Cm.; pi >!! ............................ 147,963 

Carroll .... 

Cass ........ 

Chatt oga. 

Columbia 145,055 

Cowetn 282,881 

(Crawford 250.319 

Decatur -. 707,609 

UoKalb 281,253 

Cheroke. 467,780 j Murray 4O7,74o 

Clark 22.136 Muscogee 291.; 10:5 

Cobb 406,961 ! Nowton 256,299 

Oglethorpe 55.O i.s 

Paulding (28,617 

Pike 266,962 

Pulaski 515,355 

Putnam 2:56, soo 

|) ;I (1.- 112,235 i Rabun 248,515 

Dooly 650,693 Randolph 5'9.9r,s 

Ea'ly 602,549 ! Richmond 443.157 

Effinghiun 1,149,791 j Scriven 242.656 

Elberi 121,870 Stewart 482.170 

Emannel 356,8(59 ! Sumpter 369.>.,7 

Fayette 218.804 j Talbot 331,468 

Flora 317,343 i Taliaferro 564 

Forsyth 183,515 \ Tatnall 395,840 

Franklin 5,126,548 i Telfair 364.960 

Gilmer 53o.:,72 Thomas 900,720 

Glvnn 1,785,375 j Tronp 280,100 

Greene 324,278 I Twiggs 231,680 

347,083; Union 419,168 














TJpson 184,580 

Walker 399,663 

Walton 164,015 

Ware 879,360 

Warren 95,239 

Washington 5,018,048 

392,884 Wayne 380,360 

1,269,426 Wilkes 2,224,920 

Jackson 175.120 Wilkinson 2e8,0<>0 

Jasper 245,760 j 

Jefferson 71,593 

Jones 241,920 j 

Total 54,816,782 

A TABLE Exhibiting the quantity of acres of 1st, 2d and lid qualities and 

PijicLandThe 'number of Slaves Amount of Slock in Trade. ,uid >>a ne of 

Town Property The aggregate number of acres of Land The Tax on each 

quality, and the aggregate amount of Tax paid on the whole, in 1 lie Stale of 

Georgia, agreeably !<> the Tax Returns of the several Counties, filed in the COIHJJ. 

t roller General's O, /ire for the year IS.'iS. 





Pine. in 




393' 8,330 f',2i)4 


3 .700 




33 716 




















1,34J, 105 

4, 4' 18 







3.846 1,847 









1 ,935 

47, 7."> J 














( 'aimlen, 








Campbell, .. . 

























067,589 2,04s, 792 


Cherokee, .. . 








Chattooga, . . 



1 1,1 II Ml 















55, 9:(2 






Columbia, . . . 








Coweta, . . . 






3s, 1 35 


Crawford, . . . 


69, 7S'I 




15,3s5, 2,462 




5 ,246 




Decatur,. . . . 






13,113 1,750 







66,625; 1,622 







14, 70S 







40,550 64,225 






80.4H5 49,970 












1 1 ,524 


4,133 800 







27.181: 22,707 

1,1 -'4 









Franklin, .... 



















26,924 '571 










2s, 456 



5, MS 76,746 






j Gwiniiett, . . 

2.9SS 61,463 







7,074 31.9S7 


























































2,300! 1,114 







2:i,li>8 12,550 







101,441 7-S.125 


Jefferson,. . . . 





46.600 21.096 



2,363 1 139,636 


262 521 1 53760 41459 5 K5H 


5,918[ 156,7531 54,666 
9,124! 38,668; 23,271 

16,322! 13,350 21,319 
95,282 15.000 15.000 



4,104 43.754J 23.69b 


8 50 

22,248 5 326 


4,520' 50,9391 135,708 



10,340 3,253 



7:),094 12.608 

265,334 3.534 

3,443 678 

Luinpkin, .... 





























106, 591 


Mclntosh, .... 

3" ,700 













37,7 1: 











1,600' 13,150 3,387 

74,404 2,200' 25f 














180.1^ K 

j:'-U( ll!;i;i:i 




M n sconce 




"2 It'.'tM 







64,01 r> 



4.47 f 



4ti %4S 


r. '"., 


1 ,.'...*'. 

11. Ml.! 




ji> :'!:> 

7 ( .t. r,(;r. 



J-J.7 1 1 












4.",.. 'Hit, 

>7 lIMI 

S"' il'.t 



2,1 Kl 







Us 366 





1 .V)7 


ll.'.M IS 


7.t.' ( *^! 

l.~'~'~'.l "' > 











164, 1( 






Taliate'r'i-o,". '.'.'.'.'.'.. 




1 1 7.731 




:..U4i: .-...MI 





1't ;' r |n 

















23i OO5 

.%:;... :,o 


11,183 i 110,177 


2 12! 124 


6,436 94.425 

: . ..'j-1 


.",i tir.t 










3,0081 84,722 
7.'.I30 65,46:1 








--J 39,750 


04.41 Hi 


:(."., 771 

( 1 "i.'i 



li '2.073 

























w'i 1 ki'-s.'.V ........'.'....... 





73^ l 




1,472 36,833 




410.41.' 10,604,331 




11.059,144; 242,923 

LAND. , 




1st qualitv 


!l 5-8 mills per acre 3.9.j 74 

2.1 " ' 


,-| ti-^ 

*,.),! 73 

3rd " 


1 1-J 

" 1.712 17 

1o -IL, -07 

1 6-8 

1,259 35 

Total number of acre* 35 afif, :Ufi 

Stock in Trade 

At 15 5-8 cts. per 

1. :',-'<> 30 
7 "7!t 9J 

7,244.! 94 

$100 1 
i 1 

Town Property 

!..!!!............ '242'923 

" 15 5-8 per Slave :'.7.'.'.-.0 71 

Ttoi To "V' 92 

The whole amount of taxes paid, agreeably to the returns made, is $111,338 44 

CHATHAM COVNTV. The quantity and quality of Land returned in this county cannot be as- 

certained from the Tax Book returned, and not 

ncluded in the foregoing additions. 

CHATTOOGA COUNTY. No returns have been received from this county. 


ERAL'S OFFICE, Millodgeville, 21st June, 1839. 

GF.NTIT.MT.N : In com 

pliance with your etter of the 2d April last, the foregoing Tabular 

have been prepared at an earlier period, but for 

the great labor necessary in obtaining from the 

books in this Depart!,," 

,it. rorre.-l informatio. 

as to 

the several classifications of Land, &c. 

leHireil. aii'l the .litti.-ult 

y of procurinc compete 

nt aroit 

form the work. 

I a 

. , fully y 

ii obedient s, rvanl. 


HI N (. 

PA i;K. . to apt. 

To M..KM-R. A. II- <'l)iipp 

11, J. M. Kerrien.a ! W. W. loll, C ,miii;-io:i.-i- .\,-. 



The great Yazoo Fraud was conceived earlier than the 
Pine Barren Speculation, hut as it had a much longer gesta- 
tion, it turned out that the two reached their hirth about 
the same time, and were consequently contemporaneous 
though not twin villainies; for there never was any actual 
connection between them either as to facts or persons. It 
would be impossible for people nowadays to form an ade- 
quate idea of the immense and almost wild stir and excite- 
ment caused by the Yazoo Fraud in its day ; and it was by 
no means a short any more than a commonplace day that it 
had. Not only was it radicated far back in the then Past, 
but curious explorers will detect its roots and ramifications 
interwoven with national matters of that period important 
enough to claim a place in history. And when we come 
down later and take a view of the great cancerous abomina- 
tion in its several vicissitudes and more advanced stages, how 
complicated it is seen to become alike in its facts and in the 
questions and principles it involves! How the huge villainy 
stands out and strikes us, distent with odious interest and 
energy at every turn, making its way over all obstacles, 
discouragements and delays, first through the State Legisla- 
ture, next through the Cabinet, Courts and Congress of the 
United States, and in the end, after near twenty years of 
unholy striving and perseverance, triumphing at last and 
plunging its felonious hands deep into the National Treas- 

That memorable crime which was consummated in the 
Legislature of Georgia on the 7th of January, 17'J5, is the 


one to which I am now referring. The intelligence of it no 
sooner reached Washington than it caused him great con- 
cern, for he instantly saw its enormity and datigerousness, 
having already a few years previously had to deal (and stern 
and decisive was thatdealing) with its comparatively innocent 
and Irss formidable and now almost forgotten predecessor, 
the much smaller Yazoo Sale of 1780. Upon obtaining 
from Augusta, then the seat of Government of Georgia, the 
authentic documents on the subject, he hastened on the 10th 
of February, 17015, to lay them before Congress with a mes- 
sage in which he characterised the matter as one "of exceed- 
ing magnitude, that might in its consequences affect the 
peace and welfare of the United States." But Georgia on 
this occasion saved trouble to the National Authorities, or 
rather she staved it off' to a remoter day. For, as if seeking 
to make amends for her apathy in regard to the Yazoo Sale 
of 1780, she was now tierce and rapid in her action, and 
stepping forward at once she of her own mere motion and 
with her sole arm struck down this new and more monstrous 
Yazoo crime to which corruption had just given birth on her 
soil, leaving to the Federal Administration at that time no 
other task to perform in relation to it than mere arraign- 
ment and some steps of precaution and inquiry. It was 
only a temporary respite, however, that resulted to' the 
United States from the indignant, patriotic promptitude of 
the State. For it turned out that the Hydra was only 
"scotched, not killed" by Georgia. In a few years it 
came to life again, developing a new head not vulnerable to 
the blows of the State and only amenable to the National 
arm, and from thenceforward it unceasingly harassed the 
United States and exhibited such pernicious and deathless 
faculties for mischief and annoyance that, finally in 1814, 
Congress was glad to give up the warfare and compromise 
with the great iniquity by passing a Bill appropriating five 
millions of dollars to the appeasing of its claims. 

Into the politics >f Georgia it continued to be ever and 
anon draped for years afterwards laden with unforgiven 


guilt and intense public odium. At length in the year 1825, 
in the first popular election for Governor we ever had, and 
by far the hottest and fiercest known to our annals, a fiery 
farewell eruption of this old political Vesuvius gf the State 
was provoked by Nome slight unfavorable reminiscences that 
were stirred up connected with the name of one the candi- 
dates for the office. For our people had not learned even 
down to that period to pardon to any man the smallest par- 
ticipation in that great parricidal crime. And if their ven- 
geance has not been since inflamed in regard to it, it is 
only because time has both extinguished the causes and 
dimmed the recollections by which it could be kindled anew. 
The wonderment, perplexity and curiosity which the very 
word Yazoo used to excite in juvenile minds in Georgia fifty 
and sixty years ago I have never been able to forget. Its 
strange exotic sound to the ear and look in print was the 
first and not a very small thing. Then, besides, it was a 
word which had evidently long been, as it still was, 
perfectly familiar in the mouths of all elderly and full grown 
people, so much so, that taking it to be universally under- 
stood they never bethought them that it needed explanation 
to anybody, no, not even to the listening boy whom they saw 
sitting silent and attentive. Most frequently it was of the 
Yazoo Fresh they spoke, yet often of the Yazoo Fraud. 
Sometimes it was the Yazoo Sale and the Yazoo Lands, and 
then again the Yazoo Script and Yazoo Shares. * The Yazoo 
Legislature, the Yazoo Speculators and Yazoo Companies 
were likewise frequent topics, nor was the story of the burn- 
ing of the Yazoo Act with fire drawn from heaven by Gen. 
Jackson with a sun-glass left untold. Thus numerous, va- 
rious and unlike were the things called by name of Yazoo; 
and all of them too so much the theme of talk ! And yet 
where was Yazoo, and what was it ? It seemed to be 
all over Georgia and yet no mention was ever made of any 
place in or out of Georgia where it was to be found or seen. 
Was there, indeed, any such place, and if there was, why 
should it cause so much talk and give its name to so many 


arid such different things ? Or, perhaps it was not a place, 
but only a thing; and if so, why was it such a noted thing, 
and why were so many other things baptized with its name? 
And did it pertain to land or water, or was it amphibious 
and akin to both? All was vague, misty, mysterious, per- 
plexed, yet pervaded not doubtfully with the general idea of 
somewhat that was sinister, abhorrent and damnable. 

This uncertainty, however, which tormented young imag- 
inations was more and more dispelled, so far at least as the 
question between land and water was concerned, by every 
spell of heavy, unrelenting rains, by every extraordinary and 
destructive inundation of the creeks and rivers. These oc- 
currences never failed to renew arid strengthen the associa- 
tion in youthful minds between Yazoo and water. For then 
the Yazoo Fresh was sure to be in the ascendant in people's 
mouths and thoughts. Another Yazoo Fresh was feared or 
threatened, or such another fall of rain and rise of the wateis 
had never been seen since the great Yazoo Fresh when all 
the streams and rivers rose high above all former water- 
marks and the mountain torrents and windows of heaven 
were opened to swell the proud (Savannah, and the glorious 
river vindicating the honor of its banks, swept in angered 
majesty over the scene so lately desecrated by a monstrous 
and unprecedented public villainy, and for the first time arid 
the last too for more than forty years, made beauteous 
Augusta, Georgia's capital, a subaqueous and navigable 

Terruit Urbem ; 
Terruit civcs, grav ne redirer 
Sacculum Pyrrhae nova monstra questse, 
Omne cum Proteus pecus egit altos 

Visere monies ; 

PiM-ium et snmma gonus harsit nlmo 
Nola qurr series fuerat cnlumliis, 
Kt Mipi'i 'jccio paviil:i- nat,iniiit 
Acquorc damae. 


Vidimus flavum Tiherim rotortis 
Littore Etrusco violenter undis 
Ire drjectum momementa Regis 
Templaqtie Vestse. # 

But the watery visitation lasted not. long. The whelming 
flood rushed quickly away, as if hastening in sorrow from 
the havoc it had done and left the broad riparian plain which 
Augusta adorns, bare to the genial sun once more and to 
the woful gaze of men. And also in years ensuing, when more 
time and knowledge had accrued to the younger folks, the 
idea of water associated with Yazo.i gradually subsided from 
their minds and in its stead, land and fraud and many cog- 
nate abominations came up to view and grew to the name 
and asserted themselves the originals to which the alien 
word was first applied in Georgia. For it was a word not 
native here. It was outlandish in its origin, born in a dis- 
tant savage nook and imported from thence across hundreds 
of miles of Indian wilderness and odiously denizened 
amongst us. Its birth place and long its only and sinless 
home, where its utterance called not up remembrances of 
turpitude, was far away on the confines of the Mississippi, 

*As it may be interesting to the non-latinist to see in an English poetic dress 
these fine stanzas from Horace describing an inundation of the Tiber at Rome, 
I subjoin a translation by Covington, which may perhaps also have some inter- 
est for the classical scholar both on account of its own merits and as showing 
the unapproachableness of the original : 

Appalled- the city, 

Appalled the cit'zens, lest Pyrrah's time 
Return with all its monstrous sights, 
When Proteus led his flocks to climb 
The mountain heights; 

When fish were in the elm tops caught 
Where once the stock dove wont to bide, 
And deer were floating, all distraught, 

Adown the tide. 

Old Tiber, hurled in tumult back 
From mingling with the Etruscan main, 
Has threatened Numa's Court with wreck 
And Vesta's fane 


in the land of the Ohoctaws, a region as wild to the eye as 
its own sound to the ear. There it had been for unknuwn 
ages articulated by barbarian tongues as the name of a 
petty stream meandering sluggishly from the North to lo^e 
itself in the bosom of the Leather of Floods. But what made 
that petty stream so important and how came it to supplant 
not only the Alabama, the Tuscaloosa, and the Tombigbee, 
but the great Tennessee and even the mighty Mississippi 
itself, and to impose its own ignoble name in preference to 
all theips on the immense lerritory watered by them all, 
and also on the stupendous feat of villainy of which that 
territory was the subject matter and prize ? These are points 
which used of yore to bother not a little the heads of both 
old and young in Georgia and which, 1 durst opine, may be 
still obscure to many at the present day. But even if it be 
so, there is little reason why I should hang b#ck longer 
from my destined task in order now to lift the veil arid clear 
up the mystery. For it is one of those curiosities of Ameri- 
can territorial history and controversy the explication of 
which will assuredly come out in the course of that handling 
of the Yazoo Fraud upon which it is high time I should 
enter, if indeed I would redeem the promise held out in the 
heading of this chapter. 


Beyond doubt no greater or more consequential event of a 
mere worldly character has ever happened in the world than 
the discovery and settlement of America. What an infinite 
variety and multitude of things new and momentous under 
the sun have been owing directly and indirectly to that vast 
and pregnant occurrence ! How it has teemed with results of 
all sorts and sixes, creating new, modifying or annihilating 
old interests, reaching all over the globe, and sure of per- 
vading all futurity ! Among the earliest and most striking 
of the novelties to which it gave birth, was the practice 
originated by Spain on this continent of what may be called 
conquest by contract; by the associated enterprise, capital, 


cupidity and ambition of bodies of private adventurers, act- 
ing at their own pecuniary cost, though under regal sanc- 
tion and protection, and enjoying a meretricious partnership 
with royalty in the honor of ruling and the lucre of plun- 
dering the conquered countries. War and the acquirement 
by force of new dominions was by this cruel means rendered 
easy and unexpensive to a government sitting enthroned 
and uneridangered across the Atlantic, ignorant or unthink- 
ing of the diabolical lawlessness and inhumanity which 
sprang from its policy and sullied its arms, and which have 
indelibly tarnished the Spanish name. It was thus that 
Mexico was subdued for Spain by Cortes, Peru by Pizzaro. 
Such too was the origin of the atrocious, warlike wanderings 
of Fernando deSoto* arid his -martial companions, over the 
immense regions stretching Northwardly from the Gulf of 
Mexico, which at that day and for a long while afterwards 
were massed by the Spaniards under the then comprehensive 
name of Floridaf and which now form in addition to the 
present Florida, the great States of Georgia, Alabama, Mis- 
sissippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana. If what was 
first seen and known of the New World warranted its dis- 
coverers in calling its inhabitants barbarians, assuredly 
cause enough was soon given to those barbarians for regard- 
ing the civilized new-comers as demons, who had on a sud- 
den preternaturally appeared among them to be the curse of 
their land and the destroyers of their race. 

The course of Great Britain, however, towards the natives 
in those parts of America colonized or acquired by her was 
nobler and more humane. She sought not to enslave or 
oppress or plunder them, or to extort tribute from them like 
the Spaniards, nor did she imitate the bad Spanish example 
of sentencing them to be brought under her yoke by the 
agency of armed bodies of irresponsible free booters wearing 
their Monarch's livery and flaunting his license, and only 

Bancroft's History of the United States. Chapter 2d. Vol. 1. Pickett's 
History of Alabama. Chapter 1. Vol. 1. 

|Bancroft's History of the United States. Vol. 1. Page GO. 


the more licentions because so licensed, and who emula- 
ted the worst piratical hordes in their infamous disregard 
of the laws of nature and of nations. It was on the contrary 
the pervading principle of the policy of Great Britain, that 
war and peace, negotiations and treaties with the Indians 
and all territorial acquisitions from them, whether by con- 
quest, purchase, or in any other way, should be strictly 
affairs of Government to be transacted only by and through 
its recognized officers and agents, civil or military, and 
never to be given up to private hands, or subordinated to 
private interests of any kind, or under any circumstances. 
Equally contrary was it to the British system for the 
Government to sell or convey to private persons or compa- 
nies the right of soil in any lands before the aboriginal title 
therein had been first regularly extinguished by the Govern- 
ment itself, nor would the Government in any manner, 
direct or indirect, warrant or tolerate private individuals 
or companies in buying or conquering lands from the 
Indians. Such rights and all others affecting the con- 
trol over Indian relations, it always retained to itself 
and vigilantly guarded as a high and incommunicable pre- 

This bare statement of what the two systems were shows 
the ineffable superiority of the British over the Spanish in 
point of justice, good mowals, wisdom, and humanity. And 
to the latest times, upright and enlightened natures among 
us will continue, when recalling the harrowing scenes 
through which even Anglo- America had to pass in her long 
process of colonization and settlement, to find an exalted 
satisfaction in rememhering the correct and humane maxims 
towards the Indians practised by our great ancestral nation, 
and handed down by her to us as a part of that blessed 
national inheritance which war, revolution and the rending 
of all the ties of national unity were not able to cause us to 
surrender or lose. Nor let it be forgotten that the advan- 
tage of observing these maxims was always mutual and 
eminently reciprocal between us and the Indians. Whilst 


they were rendered thereby more secure against the intru- 
sions, and outrages of bad and lawless white people, our fron- 
tiers were at the same time more exempt from Indian incur- 
sions and depredations, and our whole country from the hor- 
rors and calamities of Indian wars. 

Right here then at this point the first great damning fea- 
ture of the Yazoo crime presents itself to view in its viola- 
tions of these benign, long consecrated principles of our 
Indian policy principles so dear to peace, righteousness and 
humanity in our relations with the Indians, of such pervad- 
ing and perpetual importance, and so much demanding uni- 
form and universal enforcement, that the makers of our new 
Federal Constitution deemed it their duty to incorporate 
them in that great instrument among the trusts exclusively 
assigned to the General Government. And there they have 
ever since been preserved, wrapped up in the great powers 
of war and peace, the treaty making power and the power to 
regulate commerce with the Indian tribes. Nor did the new 
Government after getting into operation long defer the ne- 
cessary legislation for giving full effect to these inherent 
principles of the Constitution. And moreover such was the 
estimation in which Georgia herself soon came to hold these 
principles, that when Gen. Jackson and his compatriots in 
1798 undertook the work of framing a new Constitution for 
the State, warned by the then recent Yazoo enormity and 
determined to take away the possibility of its repetition, 
they took care to insert in that Constitution a prohibition 
against the sale of any of the State's Indian territory to 
individuals or companies, unless after the Indian right there- 
to should have been extinguished and the territory formed 
into counties. 

Grossly disregardful, however, of these great and sacred 
principles the Legislature of Georgia unhappily showed 
itself to be on two occasions during the period of the early 
immaturity of the State. Men not of us, men from abroad, 
many of them of fair, some of them of high name, had long 
had their avaricious gaze fixed on Georgia's vast and fertile 


Indian domain (great speculations in wild lands were a fash- 
ion and a rage in those days) and they had conspired with 
self-seeking, influential persons among our own people to en- 
rich themselves by despoiling the State of it on a huge scale. 
For years they had stood on the watch for a favorable mo- 
ment ior taking hold. The main cause which had kept 
them back was the unsettled state of the title, which was in 
strong dispute between South Carolina and Georgia, and 
they cared not to have to treat with two contending States, or 
to buy from either what was contested and claimed by the 
other. At length by the convention of Beaufort, in April, 
1787, this dispute was settled in favor of Georgia, and its 
settlement would have been the signal for an open, energetic 
movement of the laud-seekers on our very next Legislature 
but for the fact that an exceedingly formidable competitor 
appeared on the carpet, whom it was deemed best first to 
dispose of and get out of the way. This competitor was 
none other than the Continental Congress itself, which some 
years before had made earnest appeals to the States owning 
Indian lands to cede them to the United States as a fund 
for paying the Revolutionary debt. Georgia not having 
made any response to these appeals, Congress, in October, 
1787, at its first session after the Beaufort Convention, ur- 
gently called upon her again to follow the magnanimous 
example of Virginia and other States and make the much 
desired cession. The Legislature in February ensuing, re- 
sponded to the call, but how ? Why, by offering to make a 
cession confined to the territory south of the Yazoo line, the 
part most compromised by the litigous pretentious of Spain, 
as we shall hereafter see, and that offer, too, clogged with 
conditions impossible to be accepted by Congress. Where- 
upon the offer being rejected and certain modifications pro- 
posed by that Body which would make it acceptable, those 
modifications were transmitted to the next Legislature, that 
of 1789, for its consideration and action. But no action 
whatever did it take in regard to them. There can be no 
doubt that the unworthy course pursued by the Legislature 


of 1783 in making an offer that was obliged to be rejected, 
and the equally unworthy conduct of the Legislature of 
1789, in not considering and acceding to the modifications 
proposed by Congress, were the result of the bad inspiration 
and influence of the Yazoo speculators who, as yet, stood 
cloaked and in the dark as a secret organization. One thing 
is certain, that by some untold means, both the competition 
of Congress and its proposals were smothered and thrust out 
of the way, and the speculators succeeded in getting the 
field clear and wholly to themselves, free from all competition. 
Of the advantages they thus had they made very success- 
ful use in dealing with the petty diminutive Legislature of 
that era, numbering only eleven Senators and thirty-four 
Representatives. History records not, that they had any 
difficulty in outdoing Congress in its suit for the lands, and 
in getting for themselves the first Yazoo sale, that of 1789, 
although their success being at the cost of gross incivism and 
supplanting of their country, brought them no small store 
of dishonor, and added new ingredients to the other 
elements of guilt to which we have adverted in their con- 

By that piece of Legislation the State sold by metes and 
bounds and on a credit of two years, to the South Carolina 
Yazoo Company lands estimated at five millions of acres, for 
$66,964; to the Virginia YazoO Company, lands estimated 
at seven millions of acres, for $93,741; to the Tennessee 
Company, lands estimated at three and a half millions of 
acres, for $46,785; amounting in all to fifteen and a half 
millions, though as now well known exceeding that quantity 
by many millions of acres. All these lands, (among the 
best arid most desirable on the Continent) lay far to the 
West, on the waters of the Mississippi, the Great Tennessee, 
the Tombigby, and their tributaries, and had always been 
and were still Indian Teriitory in the undisputed possession 
of several powerful and by no means very friendly Indian 
tribes, to whom different portions of it belonged, the Creeks, 
Cherokees, Choctaws and Chickasaws. In addition to 


which Indian occupancy, Spain was disputing with the 
United States the title to the whole of these lands, and 
vastly more, and an intense territorial quarrel was then 
pending between the two countries as to the ownership and 
sovereignty of the same. 

No sooner, nevertheless, had the bargain been made with 
the Legislature than the three Companies determined to pro- 
ceed at once to selling and settling the lands they had 
respectively bought, regardless of Indian rights and of the 
effect on our relations and negotiations with Spain. To this 
course of conduct they were influenced as well by necessity 
as by choice. For except by immediate sales, they had no 
means of raising money wherewith to pay Georgia for the 
lands ; which, if they failed to do, within the prescribed 
time of two years, the lands were to revert at once to the 
State, and their whole speculation would come to nothing. 

It is remarkable that Georgia took no notice at all of these 
mischievous possessory movements of the Yaxoo Companies. 
The sale to them had by some means, long sunk into obli- 
vion, glided through the Legislature in silence, at least 
without making any noise or meeting with any opposition 
that has come down to us either by history or tradition. 
And now the seizure and disposal of the lands by the pur- 
chasing companies under that sale, was on the point of 
taking place just as silently and with quite as little opposi- 
tion, so far at least as the State was concerned. 

Washington, however, was on the alert and fully awake to 
the case and to the lawless, unconstitutional and dangerous 
character of all these doings : Lawless, because in viola- 
tion of the aforementioned well settled maxims in our Indi- 
an policy : Unconstitutional, because at war with those 
wise provisions of the Federal compact, which confided the 
whole subject to Federal management : Dangerous also in 
a high degree, because big with four great Indian wars, or 
rather with one Indian war with four formidable tribes at one 
time, backed by Spain to boot : Dangerous again, because 
seriously embarrassing and imperiling our aforesaid already 


critical negotiations with Spain. Against the whole thing 
therefore Washington took a most decided stand. He issued 
his proclamation strongly denouncing and forbidding all 
intrusion on the Indian lauds under any pretenses or claims 
whatever by the Yazoo purchasers, or any other persons. 
He brought the military as well as the civil arm to bear to 
defeat the contemplated settlements, and happily succeeded 
in breaking up and dissipating the whole project without 
tinging the drawn sword with a drop of blood. The result 
was that both our Indian and Spanish relations were kept in 
their same state and suffered no detriment. 

The Companies, thus thwarted in seizing, selling and set- 
tling the Indian lands they had bought for less than a cent 
an acre, were at their wit's end. Their two years credit 
was rapidly expiring, and they knew not how or where to 
get the money to pay the State. Two hundred and odd 
thousand dollars was a large sum to raise in those days in 
coin or in any good money. They could uot raise it. They 
were consequently driven to the shift of gathering up and 
tendering as payment the nearly worthless paper currency 
of the times, which being rejected and the issuance of titles 
refused, they sued the State in the Federal Court which 
suits were soon brought to an abrupt close by an Amend- 
ment of the Federal Constitution, declaring that the 
Federal Judiciary had no jurisdiction to entertain suits 
against a State. 

Thus ended the first Yazoo Sale, a glaring attempt on a 
large scale to introduce here by the action of Georgia and 
under her patronage, the vicious Spanish- American mode of 
private seizure and conquest of Indian countries. For the 
Legislative act of sale, when probed to the bottom and scan- 
ned through its thin translucent pretenses, amounted to 
nothing short of an intentional license granted for a price to 
the Companies to go and take at their own cost and charges, 
the lands they had bought. It even affects a dishonorable 
uncertainty of their being any Indians "on or near" those 
lands, and takes the hypocritical precaution of providing 

Till' Y A 7.00 FRAUD. 69 

that if there should be any, the grantees should "forbear all 
hostile attacks on them" (not, be it noted, all intrusion on 
their territory) which the grantees would be very apt to in- 
terpret in their own favor as not depriving them of the right 
of repelling Indian attacks on their peaceably disposed new 
settlements. A war of defense against the Indians, being 
thus initiated, might of course be kept up and prosecuted, 
the grantees would argue, until peace and security were per- 
fectly achieved, that is to say, until the Indians were well 
subdued and their lands vested in the conquerors. 

Such was too much the logic and ethics toward the 
Indians of that period of mingled dread and exasperation in 
Georgia. But even if it had been otherwise, and the prohib- 
itory words in the Legislative Act had been meant by the 
State in the largest imaginable good faith and kind sense 
towards the Indians and their rights, still they were una- 
voidably mere empty, ineffective words. For what chance 
was there for Georgia to make good her prohibition in those 
remote savage wilds over which she had never extended her 
Government, where she had not a man at her command, and 
where besides she could not go herself in any garb, civil or 
military, without instantly getting an Indian war upon her 
hands ? For hard would it have been to make the Indians 
believe that a people who had sold their country to bands of 
speculators, had come thither astJieir friends to protect them 
against those speculators, aud not as their enemies and the 
accomplices of their robbers. Thus there was no possibility 
whatever of the State enforcing her prohibition, even if she 
had meant it in ever so good faith. And as a right without 
a remedy is worthless, so this prohibition being without 
means or ability on the part of the State to enforce it, was a 
mere mockery, especially when, as here, an open door and 
strong temptation was offered for its violation. That the 
Companies regarded the matter in this light is clear enough 
from the fact already stated, that they began immediately 
taking steps for seizing, selling and settling the lands. In- 
deed the measures of two of them for this purpose, the Ten- 


ne.ssee and South Carolina Yazoo, enlisting the hardy 
pioneers of Kentucky, Tennessee and the lower Mississippi 
in their enterprise, were openly military and warlike. And 
the fact that the Government of Georgia never in any way 
forbade, discountenanced or frowned upon their proceedings, 
is unanswerable proof that those proceedings were in unison 
with the secret spirit and intent of the Yazoo Sale, though 
feebly and insincerely disowned by its letter. The State 
being thus worse than delinquent, her own people and the 
whole country were left, as we have seen, to be indebted to 
the Federal Executive alone for the thwarting of the first 
Yazoo iniquity and the prevention of the chaos of crime, 
mischief and misery it carried in its bosom. 


All the imputations that have thus been seen to lie at the 
door of the Yazoo affair of 1*789, apply more strongly and 
with a great addition of guilt to the much worse case of 
January, 1795, infamously distinguished as the Yazoo 
Fraud proper, and to which we are now coming a case 
rendered worse not only by the crime being of more collos- 
sal proportions and accomplished by fouler means, but also 
by its having been perpetrated in the face of a solemn warn- 
ing against it furnished by the history and fate of its less 
monstrous predecessor perpetrated, moreover, in defiance 
of the august quarter from whence that warning had proceed- 
ed. But notwithstanding the intenser criminality with 
which this later Yazoo affair was thus chargeable, it had a 
bright side in one respect for the honor of Georgia. It 
brought out the strongest possible proof that her people 
would not endure turpitude in their public affairs. No 
sooner was the deed of shame consummated in their Legis- 
lature, than they rose up in their vengeance against both the 
deed and its doers, nor stayed their hand till the wicked 
work was undone and the character of the State vindicated. 
Assuredly, in the annals of no community, can be found a 
more striking and redeeming resentment and uprising of 


the people against a great political wickedness than our an- 
cestors exhibited in this instance. And let it be borne in 
mind that it was an uprising not less against the iniquity of 
the thing itself, than against the bad means by which it was 
accomplished, which were unknown at first and only 
brought to light after the storm began to rage. Should it 
be asked what caused the conduct of Georgia on this occa- 
sion to be so different from what it had been in the similar 
case of 1789, the clear answer is, that the difference was 
owing to the effect which Washington's stern course and 
true teaching in 1789 had produced on the minds of our 
people. That effect had been to correct whatever was wrong 
in their earlier ideas on the subject, and to awaken and edu- 
cate them to right views and a just sense of their duty touch- 
ing it, thereby making it quite impossible that any such 
like villainy should again ever prosper in their midst for 
want of opposition, or find at any stage the slightest toler- 
ation at their hands. 

The consequence was, that when the new cohorts of spec- 
ulation rallied and took the fit-Id in 1793, full of confidence 
and sanguine of being able to seize and carry off the prize 
that had by that time fully dropped from the hands of the 
preceding band of land-jobbers, they were destined to a sig- 
nal repulse. The Legislature of that year proved itself 
staunch and altogether impregnable to their designs.* 

Of course, they fretted sorely under the unexpected dis- 
appointment, and it was whilst thus fretting ancf occupied 
in laying their plans for securing a better result whenever 
they should enter upon another attempt, that they were 
suddenly bestirred and hurried in the matter by certain very 
important confidential intimations from the National Capi. 
tal. These came from General James Gunn, who was not 
only one of the chiefs of their enterprise, but was also their 
especial watchman and spy in the United States Senate of 
which he was an unworthy member from Georgia, and were 
to the effect that, through his opportunities as a Senator, he 

American State Papers, Public Lands, Vol. 1, 147. Flournoy's Affidavit. 


knew beyond doubt that our territorial negotiations with 
Spain were drawing to a close, and would soon end by her 
fully surrendering to us her claims to all the so-called Yazoo 
country, indeed, to all she had ever claimed against us 
East of the Mississippi : That therefore there was no time 
to be lost by the associated speculators, and that it was in- 
dispensable that their scheme of purchase should be pushed 
at all hazards, and by all expedients, fair or foul, through 
the next Legislature: For that after this Spanish cloud, 
that had for more than a dozen years overhung and darkened 
the title of Georgia and given a handle for calumniating and 
cheapening her immense landed wealth, should be dissipated, 
as it now soon would be, all prospect would be gone of their 
ever being able to buy these immense regions from her for 
the trifling price on which they had fixed their expecta- 
tions, if, indeed, the purchase made on any terms, 
a thing exceedingly doubtful, considering the great re- 
action of opinion as to the value of the lands that was sure 
to result from the Spanish riddance that was now immi- 
nent, combined with the permanent and general Indian 
pacification which would be its certain speedy consequence. 

These revelations had a strong effect on the Yazooists, not 
unlike in one respect that produced on the Rothschilds by 
their twenty-four hours' soonest intelligence from the fatal 
field of Waterloo, in June, 1815. Activity was marvelous- 
ly quickened in both cases. The great money-lenders and 
money-controllers of the world, the pecuniary patrons of 
kings and governments and ever vigilant speculators on the 
vastest scale in their debts and securities, astounded the 
London Exchange for one whole day by the magnitude and 
multiplicity of their operations, to which none could find 
the clue till the next morning. So not until the treaty of 
San Lorenzo was concluded in October, 1795, and made 
known to the country, was it fully understood what had im- 
pelled the Yazoo companies to press their nefarious project 
on the preceding Legislature with such desperate energy, 
and such costly, unstinted corruption. Then, indeed, the 


cause stood out in clear light and became obvious to every 
body- it being plainly soon what great and just reason they 
had for fearing that the last chance was in hand they were 
likely ever to have for cheaply getting hold of the priceless 
landed empire on which they were villainously intent, and 
which, whilst they saw the General Government on the 
point of freeing from its Spanish entanglement, they also 
saw it, at the same time, still suing for to Georgia on behalf 
of that noble national object, the payment of the Revolu- 
tionary* Debt. 

Of the pestilent territorial claims of Spain that gave rise 
to this entanglement and which have so often started Up in 
our path, complicated, first, with our Indian Affairs and 
the Oconee war, as we have heretofore shown at length, and 
then, also, with that monstrous Yazoo iniquity which we are 
now handling, furnishing to the banded speculators a reason 
of their own for being in such eager hurry to buy up the 
State's Western lands, and giving them at the same time a 
cherished pretext for decrying their title and value, it 
will be well here to take a rapid, comprehensive review, 
alth >ugh at the cost of being carried far back into Revolu- 
tionary and pre-Revolutionary times. For such a review 
ample apology, it strikes me, will be found in its general 
affinity to the early history of Georgia as well as in the 
light it is calculated to shed on the Yazoo Fraud. 


North America was long an arena of strife for dominion 
between France, Spain and England. France having at an 
early day seized upon the shores of the St. Lawrence, based 
thereupon a claim not only to the frozen realms adjacent 
and the immense icy regions further North, but also to those 
more genial climes spreading out behind the mountains from 
the margins of the Great Lakes to the heads of the tributa- 
ries of the Mississippi ; along which great river shu planted 
also that grandest of her colonies, Louisiana, under whose 
shadow she asserted herself sole sovereign of the mighty 


stream and all its sequacious waters and almost boundless 
dependant lands from its mouth to its source on both sides. 
Spain had posted herself along the Gulf of Mexico from the 
waters of the Mobile to the Southern Atlantic, and from 
thence shot up her claims perpendicularly and indefinitely 
to the North, interpenetrating those of France and Eng- 
land. The latter power stood thrust as it were between the 
two others, occupying the entire Ocean front from the 
Oanadas to Florida. But westwavdly she paid no respect at 
all to the exorbitant claims of her neighbors, coolly ignoring 
and overriding them with still more exorbitant claims of 
her own. Quite regardless of their airy conflicting preten- 
sions, she boldly projected the long lines of colony after 
colony, among the rest of South Carolina and Georgia, 
across the Continent from the Atlantic to the South Sea, as 
the Pacific was then called. 

This state of things was almost obliged to result sooner or 
later in war. For how else could these omniverous compe- 
titors for the mastery of the new world be quieted among 
themselves and have their litigious limits adjusted? It 
came at length, a tripartite struggle between the three Pow- 
ers, memorable for its great territorial consequences, for the 
mournful defeat and fall of the proud Braddock in the 
depths of an Indian wilderness, and for its sadly glorious 
crowning scene Wolfe's heroic death clasped in the arms 
of victory on the heights of Abraham. It was a great seven 
years war and gradually, after our own more famed war of 
the Revolution, came to be called by our ancestors the old 
French war. It lasted till 1763, when it was brought to a 
close by the treaty of Paris, concluded in February of that 
year. That treaty was France's death blow in North 
America. By it she lost to England the Canadas and the 
whole North, and also all of Lousiana on the eastern side of 
the Mississippi down to the 3 1st parallel of latitude. To 
Spain she lost all the rest of Louisiana on both sides of the 
Mississippi, and was thus literally expelled from the Conti- 
nent. Then England yielded up in favor of Spain all her 


Trans-Mississippi pretensions and accepted that river as her 
western boundary ; and Spain on her part transferred to 
England, Florida, embracing under that name all that she 
hud previously to the war claimed East of the Mississippi. 

And now we <;orne to divers facts important in the terri- 
torial controversy that subsequently arose between the 
United States and Spain and having, through that contro- 
versy a bearing. on the Yazoo Fraud. Among which facts it 
is first to be rioted that under the Spanish rule, all Florida 
had been but one Province with large limits stretching up 
towards the North indefinitely, as has just been observed, 
and adverse both to England and France. Great Britain, 
upon Florida becoming hers, changed this thing. She divid- 
ed the one province into two, East and West Florida, and 
fixed their northern boundary. That of East Florida she 
made to begin at the junction of the Flint and Chattahoo- 
chee, running from thence to the head of the St. Mary's, and 
following the course of that river to the sea. That of West 
Florida, with which alone we are now concerned, she made 
to begin on the river where the 3 1st parallel of 
latitude strikes it, and to follow that parallel to the Missis" 

Had Great Britain allowed this line to remain unaltered, 
had she thought proper, during her brief domination, to let 
alone this, her first fixation of the Northern boundary of 
West Florida, very different from what actually took place 
would have been many subsequent circumstances and events 
in relation to a vast and interesting region. In the first 
place, had this line of the thirty-first parallel remained un- 
disturbed, that Spanish claim of title afterwards so earnest- 
ly urged against the United States for all the country be- 
tween the Chattahoochee and the Mississippi lying above 
that parallel, would have lacked its only plausible founda- 
tion, and in all likelihood would never have been brought 
forward. Consequently, that Spanish Protectorate of the In- 
dians and interference with them against us, which origina- 
ted wholly out of this claim of title, would never have 


occurred. It is altogether probable likewise that the Yazoo 
Fraud itself might never have been .hatched, and in case it 
had been, it is almost certain it would have failed of success- 
ful accomplish meet. For the litigious state of the title 
between our country and Spain was the main root from 
which, it sprang, inspiring, as we have seen, a hope of 
achieving the vast purchase, or champerty rther, at very 
little cost. How adroitly the Yazooists intermingled insinu- 
ations against the title of Georgia with the arts of bribery, 
corruption and influence with which they prosecuted their 
purchase before the Legislature, needs not to be told in de- 
tail here. Verily, it required the combined force of these 
and all other base means they could command, to effect the 
passage of their monstrous scheme. And then, further- 
more, had Grt'at Britain never changed this line, the very 
word Yazoo would have remained in its original obscurity, 
nor would ever have been raised into notoriety, nor fastened 
as a name on a large and interesting portion of the earth's 

But Great Britain, in the course of a few years was led, 
by reasons not now worth enumerating, to make a great 
change of the line as at first established by her, a change 
destined to be prolific of no little strife between her two 
conquering successors, Spain and the United States. Car- 
rying the Northern boundary of West Blorida much further 
up, she made it to start from the Mississippi at the mouth 
of the Yazoo and to run from thence due East to the Chat- 
tahoochee, striking the latter river not far from what is now 
West Point. Naturally, this line soon became famous as 
the new upper boundary of British West Florida, and it got 
to be familiarly known as the Yazoo line, and the country 
above and below it to an indefinite extent came to be called 
the Yazoo country. Wherefore, upon the subsequent recon- 
quest of British West Florida by Spain, which took place in 
May, 1781, it is not strange that Spain should have claimed, 
as she did, to have become the owner, by virtue of that con- 
quest, of all the country bearing the nanio of British West 


Florida, that is, of all South of the Yazoo. line, But not 
content with this, she went much further, and without either 
logic or justice on her side, extended her pretensions to all 
the territory on the North of the line to which the vague 
name of Florida had of old been applied hy her, asserting 
that she was remitted to her ancient claims there also by 
her reconquest of West Florida, although British West 
Florida did not reach so far up. From the foregoing it is 
seen how it happened that the vast region of which we are 
discoursing acquired the name of Yazoo, and why in the 
first legislative sale, that of 1789, the two main purchasing 
companies took Yazoo (the word not having yet becyme ob- 
noxious) as part of their name and were called the Virginia 
Yazoo and the South Carolina Yazoo Companies. Hence, 
also, in the act of 1795, although all four of its companies 
eschewed the now tainted name and it was not allowed to 
occur in the law from the beginning to the end, yet it con- 
tinued to stick like the shirt of Nessus, and neither the lands, 
the law, the companies, the enacting Legislature; nor any- 
thing else connected with the transaction have ever been 
able to this day to get rid of the abhorred designation. 

It was more than a dozen years after the establishment, of 
this Yazoo line by Great Britain that the important event 
occurred to which we have just above adverted, namely, 
the Spanish reconquest of West Florida from that power in 
May, 1781, a date at which our Revolutionary war was yet 
in " mid volley," eighteen months before the provisional, 
and more than two years before the definitive treaty of 
Peace, Limits and Independence between the mother coun- 
try and the United States. This reconquest was a long 
premeditated thing with Spain. All the while after the 
treaty of Paris, she had been ill at ease under the loss of 
Florida, for which she had never felt that Great Britain's 
relinquishment of her shadowy claims West of the Missis- 
sippi deserved to b(? called an indemnity, or was anything 
more than a mere empty salvo to Spanish pride. She had 
been constantly on the watch, therefore, for an opportunity 


of revenge and reseizure, and found it at last, so far as West 
Florida was concerned, by leaping on Great Britain while 
she was oppressed by a tripple war with her rebellious colo- 
nies, and their French allies and theunallied Dutch. Never 
was conquest more complete and unequivocal, the British 
Governor, Chester, making an absolute surrender of the 
province and retiring with the British Forces and function- 
aries, and leaving everything in the hands of the victorious 
Spaniards. Nor was there ever any attempt at recapture. 

The effect was that, as between Great Britain and Spain, 
all British West Florida from the Gulf up to the Yazoo line 
became undoubtedly Spanish, nor was there aught left to 
England within that space capable of being conveyed by her 
in any way to the United States or any other power. 

And yet what in fact did England do? Here is what she 
did : By both the aforementioned treaties, provisional and 
definitive, she ceded the whole country, as well below as 
above the Yazoo line, to the United States down to the 31st 
parallel, wholly disregarding the aforesaid Spanish recon- 
quest. And what is stranger still, she did on the very day 
she made this definitive cession to the United States, to-wit, 
on the 3d day of September, 1783, enter into a conflicting 
treaty with Spain conveying in full right to her East 
and West Florida, without saying one word about their 
boundaries, leaving Spain consequently at liberty and in a 
r osition to contend for whatever boundaries she pleased 
against us. 

Behold here what a wanton bequest of territorial dispute 
and quarrel our chagrined and vanquished Mother country 
threw at parting into the laps of the United States and 
Spain.: A bequest, too, which, so far as related to the re- 
gion South of the Yazoo line, seemed at first glance decid- 
edly to throw the advantage on the side of Spain and against 
this country. But it was only at the first glance that it had 
that seeming. For upon close scrutiny it became clear that 
the United States were entitled to go behind these con- 
flicting treaties into which Britian had entered with Spain 


and ourselves, and to treat the one made with us as being 
not so much a cession or the source of our tide as an acknowl- 
edgement by the mother country of our pre-existing rights 
and boundaries acquired, sword in hand, by successful war 
and our Declaration of Independence. By this mode of 
viewing the subject (and it is certainly the true one), our 
territorial rights and limits recognized by the treaty of 1783 
are made to relate back and take effect from a date anterior 
to the Spanish conquest of 1781, and to be superior conse- 
quently to the Spanish claim founded on that cjnquest, just 
as our Independence itself is to be regarded not as a grant or 
concession from Great I5ri tain, but as a right acknowledged by 
her to be already ours, conquered by war and dating back 
to the 4 tli of July 1776. We see thus that revolution and 
the sword are the true fountain head from which we trace in 
this case our territorial title and boundaries as well as our 
blood-purchased right of self-government: Of both which 
the above mentioned British treaties with us are to be con- 
sidered but as a recognition and settlement. 

Such is the principle, not the less sound because a little 
subtle, which comes to our rescue, supplanting in our favor 
the Spanish claim of title to all that part of the contested 
territory lying South of the Yazoo line. It is not surprising, 
however, that Spain should have been exceedingly averse to 
yielding up so fine and large a region on so fine a point as 
this. But when she went further, and upon the ground c 
having conquered British West Florida, overstepped the 
Yazoo line and advanced pretensions to an immense country 
which had never been embraced in that province, no wonder 
the American Continent grew impatient and almost lost 
respect for a power that juggled in this manner for more 
than it could with decency claim. 

Thus, upon comparison of the two titles, Spanish and 
Georgian, as they stood previously to the treaty of San 
Lorenzo, that of Georgia on which alone the United States 
relied and triumphed in their negotiations with Spain, is 
found to be prior in time and consequently stronger in point 


of right (prior tempore, ergo portior jure,) than the Spanish 
title ; hoth heing founded on conquest from Great Britain 
and our conquest heing the oldest of the two by nearly five 
years.' But even supposing 4he title of Spain, though van- 
quished in her diplomatic strife with our country, to have 
been in reality better than that of Georgia by means of 
which the United States vanquished it, yet the United States 
would be precluded after the. victory from assuming an altered 
language and denying the superiority and validity of the title 
of Georgia under which that victory had been won. -For 
Governments no more than individuals, after conquering 
under a flag, whether of war or of words, have a right to 
turn upon it and rend it. The wise arid beneficent princi- 
ple of estoppel so well known in law and so sacred to peace, 
honor and the repose of rights and property, here comes into 
play, and not only forbade the United States from setting 
up the vanquished Spanish title in opposition to that of 
Georgia, but furthermore required that this vanquished 
title should not be allowed in the hands of the United States 
to have the effect of vesting any right whatever, against 
Georgia, but should be made to enure, for whatever it 
might be worth, to her benefit alone, and to the perfect clear- 
ing and firm establishment of her right and title. 


Fuch is a condensed account of the Spanish title and of its 
eventual surrender to the United States who were contest- 
ants against it under the elder and better title of Georgia. 
The leagued speculators forewarned by Gen. Gunn, knew, 
as we have seen, as early as 1794, how certain and near at 
hand this surrender was, and by the many able and distin- 
guished men whom they counted in their ranks, (among 
whom were prominent politicians, eminent jurists and learn- 
ed judges ;) they were all the while kept well enlightened 
as to the manner in which this surrender whenever it should 
happen, would work ; that it would enure, as we have above 
stated, to the benefit of Georgia and to the disembarrass- 


merit of her right in and to the immense territory they were 
seeking to purchase from her. But whilst their confidence 
in the clear title of what they were aiming to buy from 
Georgia was thus perfect and free from doubt, they dread- 
ed not a little the enhanced estimation of the lands and 
other difficulties which they foresaw rising up in their path 
in case they should fail to consummate their purchase in 
advance of the coming Spanish cession. Among those other 
difficulties was the ever haunting danger from the patriotic 
competition of the United States government. For though 
they had succeeded in triumphing over it in 1 789, they saw it 
again starting up and all the while threatening them. To 
which when we add the vast unprincipled cupidity by which 
they were devoured and the mania then widely prevalent 
for speculating in wild lands, we behold the reasons which 
stimulated the Yazooists to the hurried and profligate efforts 
of which they were now guilty in order to grasp, while they 
might, an enormous prize which they apprehended would 
not remain long within their reach. 

These efforts they consequently commenced making very 
soon, not waiting even for the meeting of the Legislature. 
For months beforehand, the ringleaders and their most 
wily, trusted accomplices were hard at work to secure suc- 
cess from that body when it should assemble. They kept ? 
however, a thick veil over their machinations. It was quite 
unknown to the public how they were busied. Little was 
it supposed that they were industriously occupied in per- 
fecting their schemes, in tampering with the elections to the 
Legislature, in enlisting men of influence far and wide, and 
in getting up funds for the purpose of corruption and paying 
for the lands. Even upon the assembling of the Legislature 
in November, no siege was at first laid ;" no lobby showed 
itself; no demonstration of any sort was for sometime made. 
Every thing was kept still, quiet, unsuspected, awaiting a 
very significant, pre-arranged, auxiliary event, namely, the 
re-election of Gen. Gunn for another six years to the United 
States Senate, which was no sooner accomplished than it 


was hailed everywhere by his associates as a great prelimi- 
nary triumph, and an auspicious prelude to the grand Yazoo 
campaign, which was now at once boldly opened at Augusta 
under the leadership of Gunn himself, robed in all the 
bravery of his renewed Senatorial dignity A dignity basely 
sought by him on this occasion with the direct intention of 
prostituting its great influence to the shame and betrayal of 
the people who honored him, and to the vile enrichment of 
himself and his confederates, who had not over estimated 
the importance of his election to their cause, rightly judg- 
ing that a Legislature which should re-elect such a man to 
so noble a station would not be found proof against the aug- 
mented bad influence with which they had thereby armed 
him, nor be beyond the reach of those arts of corruption that 
were pre-determined to be exerted by himself and his co- 
workers, who took it for granted from their failure at the 
preceding session that such arts would have to be employed 
in order to success now.* 

Quickly then upon Gutm's re-election the veil was entire- 
ly thrown off by the Yazooists and four great land compa- 
nies developed themselves that had evidently been already 
organized and in waiting for that signal. These companies 
soon perceived that in playing the part of competitors 
against one another they would be greatly in each other's 

Extract from Mr. Randolph's speech on the Yazoo claims in the House of 
Representatives of the United States, January 31st, 1805 : "There is another 
fact, too little known, but unquestionably true, in relation to this business. 
The scheme of buying up the Western territory of Georgia did not originate 
there. It was hatched in Philadelphia and New York (and I believe in Boston, 
of this, however, lam not certain), and the funds by which it was effected were 
principally furnished by monied capitalists in those towns. The direction of 
these resources devolved chiefly on the Senator (Gunn), who has been mention- 
ed. Too wary to commit himself to writing, he and his associates agreed upon 
a countersign. His re-election was to be considered as evidsnce that the tem- 
per of the Legislature of Georgia was suited to their purpose and his Northern 
confederates were to take their measures accordingly. In proof of this fact, 
no sooner was the news of his re-appoiniment announced in New York than it 
was publicly said in a coffee house there, "Then the Western, territory of 
Georgia is sold.'' Benton M. of Congressional Debates, Vol. Ill, p. 331. 


way and that by combining their resources and influence they 
would almost certainly be able to control the Legislature to 
their purposes. They hastened accordingly to enter into a 
cocilition, the parties to which, more grasping than their 
predecessors of 1789, resolved on seizing and partitioning 
among themselves all the immense country from the Ala- 
abama arid Coosa in the East and the Mississippi in the 
West, and from the Northern boundary of Georgia along 
the 35th parallel down nearly to her Southern limit on the 
31st degree of latitude a region of surpassing natural ad- 
vantages and comprising some forty or fifty millions of acres 
of what was mostly very fertile land in a very fine climate, 
every where well watered and abounding in good navigable 

Over the proposals and efforts of the combined speculators 
to buy this almost imperial expanse the State's unworthy 
representatives higgled and hesitated for some time, not, as 
the upshot showed, in order to obtain a better price for the 
State, but with a view only to bigger bribes for themselves. 
At length, paid to their own full satisfaction for their votes, 
they sold the whole coveted region at one "fell swoop" of 
legislation for the sum of $500,000 to the four leagued com- 
panies, the purchase money being apportioned among them 
as also were the lands, according to their own wishes and 
dictation ; the State getting one-fifth of the money in hand 
and receiving mortgages on the lands themselves for the 
remainder, which was fully paid before the expiration of a 
stipulated credit of ten months. The Georgia Company was 
the leviathan of the coalition, paying just one-half of the 
gross amount of the purchase money, $250,000, the Georgia- 
Mississippi Company paying $155,000, the Upper Mississip- 
pi Company, $35,000, and the Tennessee Company, $60,000, 
each getting by metes and bounds lands proportioned to 
their respective payments. 

In this gigantic transaction we behold shamelessness and 
audacity, falsity and artifise vying with the pecuniary cor- 
ruption by which it was disgraced. For instance, the Leg- 


islature had the hardihood, as we are informed in the pre- 
amble to the Rescinding Act, to accept this price of $500,000 
in the face of a proposition by other parties equally reliable 
to pay $800,000, which was refused for no better reason than 
the smaller bribes, or perhaps the no bribes, by which it was 
backed. How grateful the bare idea that the failure of thet=e 
higher bidders was owing to their virtue ! Moreover, also, 
during the time the measure was on hand the speculators gross- 
ly misrepresented the amount of the lands they were seeking 
to buy, pretending that they amounted to not more than 
21,000,000 or 22,000,000 of acres.* After the bargain was 
clinched they quickly made the discovery that they had got- 
ten at least 40,000,000 acres. And then the pretense set up 
in the Act of a necessity to sell these lands in order to raise 
funds to pay the State troops and to extinguish the Indian 
title to lands lying elsewhere, is transparently false and hyp- 
ocritical on the very face of the law. Further still, among 
the numerous badges of fraud and villainy by which the case 
is deformed, not the least remarkable is that tliese great ter- 
ritories were clandestinely sold, as it were, by the Legisla- 
ture without any notice whatever having been given to the 
public that they were for sale. 

*ln the debate on the Yazoo Claims in January, 1805, in the House of Repre- 
sentatives, Mr. Lucas, of Virginia, said : 

"It ought to be observed that the four land companies, who are original 
purchasers under the Act of the Legislature of Georgia, passed on the 7th of 
January, 1795, stated in their petition containing their proposal to the Legisla- 
ture to purchase certain lands belonging to the State of Georgia, that the lands 
contained within the bounds which were described in their petition amounted 
to 21,750,000 acres It was evidently upon the fai'h of this statement that the 
Legislature consented to sell that land for $500,000. However, it is now as- 
certained that the quantity of land thus described amounts to 35,000.000 acres 
and the companies themselves compute it to be near 40,000,000. From this 
it appears evidently that the companies have deceived the Legislature by stating 
what was not true. * * * * 

"The Legislature have consequently sold twice as much land as they intended 
to sell, or which is the same thing, they have sold it one-half cheaper than it 
was their intention, and all this loss is the result of the false statement given 
by the land companies.'' BentoiCs jib. of Congressional Debates, Vol. Ill, 
p. 323. 


Bul in order to see this Yazoo affair in its full turpitude, 
it is necessary to advert to another law enacted at the same 
session. I mean the Act passed for the purpose of making 
provision for paying with Indian lands the State Troops for 
their services in defending the State in the Indian war 
which had been so long pending and which, indeed, was not 
yet perfectly terminated. This law authorizes Surveys and 
Head Rights in favor of the citizen soldiers to be located on 
lands yet in the occupancy of Indians lying in the Tallassee 
country and to the South of the Oconee. Such and so 
thorough, however, was the change of ideas that had been 
wrought among the people of Georgia by the policy and 
principles of Washington as displayed and enforced in his 
warfare against the Yazoo sale of 1789, that whatever they 
may have previously thought on the subject, they now cer- 
tainly disclaimed all right of entering themselves or of 
authorizing by their laws and grants, others to enter on the 
Indian lands within the limits of the State until the Indian 
title should be first extinguished and the consent of the 
general Government given. Accordingly in this State Troops 
Act, care was taken to insert a clause declaring that the Act 
was not to go into operation until after the extinction of the 
Indian title, and in regard to the Tallassee country, not 
until after obtaining the consent of the General Government. 
Such were the restrictions the Legislature felt bound to put 
into a Law appropriating Indian lands for so favorite an 
object as that of compensating our citizen soldiers. 

But when it came to the Yazoo Law and the selling of a 
realm of Indian territory to gangs of profligate specula- 
tors for almost nothing in comparison with its value, a 
mighty change comes over the Legislature. It now no 
longer gave heed to the principles and policy of Washing- 
ton. There is now no waiting for the extinguishment of 
the Indian title, or the consent of the General Government ; 
no postponement of the operation of the Law for these or 
any other events. On the contrary the sale is absolute, im- 
mediate, unconditional, trammeled with no delays, con tin- 


gencies or restrictions. In a word the restrictions studious- 
ly inserted in the State Troops law are as studiously left 
out here, and the door is intentionally left open for the 
State's bribhig grantees and whoever might become their sub- 
purchasers to possess themselves, so far as the terms of the 
Law are concerned, of the Indian lands at their own pleas- 
ure and by their own arts and means. Arid in order to add 
strength to such their claim under the law and place it be- 
yond cavil, recourse is had to an extraordinary and most 
discreditable Legislature trick A lying Title is prefixed to 
the Law. It is falsely christened an "Act supplementary" 
to the State Troops Act. Thus, by forging the relation of 
principal and supplement between the two laws and thereby 
making them for all purposes of judicial interpretation one 
and the same law, the construction was the more strongly 
necessitated that the insertion of the restrictions in the State 
Troops Law and their omission in the Yazoo Law was tanta- 
mount to their express exclusion from the latter, accord- 
ing to the universally recognized legal maxim, Inculsio 
uniiJLS est exclusio elterius. Behold here bv what unwor- 
thy parliamentary legerdemain the Yazooists contrived to 
strengthen the argument of their exemption from restrictions 
demanded at once by righteousnesss and good policy and by 
the laws and constitution and treaties of the Union ; restric- 
tions also to which our meritorious citizen soldiers were 
subjected by the very same Legislature that in the very 
same breath exempted the Yazooists therefrom. Certainly 
we see here a device altogether worthy of the law-learning 
and technical artifice and skill which abounded in the 
Yazoo ranks ; a device moreover, which nothing but Yazoo 
corruption could have carried in triumph through the two 
Houses of the General Assembly and then through the Ex- 
ecutive Branch of the Government also. For corruption must 
have found its way there too, if not directly to the very 
breast and pocket of the Governor, which we would fain 
hope was not the case, yet undoubtedly to those by whom 
he was advised and influenced. 


It was the ill fate of Col. George Matthews to fill the Exec- 
utive Chair at this date and to affix the signature that at once 
made the monstrous iniquity a law and fastened forever upon 
himself the character of a great public criminal. Vain 
would be any attempt to palliate his conduct, although there 
have been writers who ventured upon such attempt. The 
best that can be said in mitigation for him is that his entire 
action in the matter seemed to be the result as much of weak- 
ness as of wickedness, and excites our sorrow along with our 
anger whilst we are sternly consigning his name to dishonor. 
The heart cannot but feel some generous relenting towards 
this heroic, hard-fighting and thorough-going, though un- 
couth and unscholarly Revolutionary patriot and warrior, 
when we behold him elevated, after the close of the war, to 
a great political post for which he was wholly unfit and 
where he was destined almost certainly to fall a victim to 
his own utter incompetency and the misleading arts and in- 
fluence of those around him on whom he was obliged help- 
lessly to lean. The wounds received and the laurels won 
by such a man in the terrible days of his country's dangers 
and trials, "plead like angels, trumpet-tongued," in his 
favor ever afterwards, and cause us to look upon his worst 
political misdeeds with a gentleness of reprobation which 
we extend not to mere civilians and men who can show no 
blood earned title to the public gratitude. But, neverthe- 
less, Governor Matthews, in spite of this kindly popular feel- 
ing towards him and although no direct charge of being 
personally bribed and corrupted, so far as I ever heard, was 
at any time alleged against him, was politically ruined in 
Ge Tgia by the odium of his official complicity with the 
Yazoo Fraud. 'It was enough for the people that by his single 
dissent he might have defeated that stupendous villainy and 
that he did not do it, but on the contrary gave it his assent 
and vitalized it with his signing hand. And besides there 
were other strongly exasperating circumstances against him. 
The two bills, the State Troops Act and that for the Yazoo 
Sale, were both before him for his signature at the same 


time. The former lie signed and returned on the 28th of 
December. The latter he refused to sign and sent back with 
his objections on the same day. How it happened that so 
soon afterwards as the 7th of January he was gotten to fore- 
go all his objections and to sign another bill substantially 
the same, only enough altered to give him a pretext for 
saying that it was not the same but another bill, was never 
explained and naturally gave rise to deeply damaging sur- 
mises against him. And assuredly, moreover, his case was 
not bettered by the unhappy fact of his total neglect in his 
list of objections of the 28th of December, to take any notice 
of a matter so capital and striking as the omission in the 
Yazoo Bill of the above mentioned restrictions contained in 
the State Troops Act, which he had just examined and signed. 
His failure to notice and brand this omission cannot be 
viewed otherwise than as a mark of his sanction given to it 
at that time by implication, as afterwards it was expressly 
given when on the 7th of January, he finally signed the bill 
and made it a law. 

The clue to the excessive anxiety we have noticed on the 
part of the Yazooists to have on the very face of their 
Legislation clear, merchantable titles, free i'rom all restric- 
tions or contingencies, is to be found in the fact that their 
scheme was designed from the beginning to be one of rapid 
sales and conversion into money, not of protracted ownership 
awaiting the extinction of the Indian title by government 
and the subsequent gradual increase of the value of the 
lands. It was in order that they might successfully carry 
out this scheme that they wanted a law which they could 
parade and bepraise in the markets of the world as giving a 
present absolute estate, not merely future contingent rights 
and expectations. With such a law and titles under it 
good and specious on the surface though well known to 
themselves to be in reality unsound and vulnerable to attack 
by both the United States and Georgia,- they hoped to be 
rapidly able to succeed in alluring into large purchasing 


strangers and uninformed, distant people, that class who are 
always predestined as their victims by wicked, shrewd-con- 
triving speculators. 

But not only did these shrewd, enterprising speculators 
want and resolve to get per fas aut per nefas, titles that 
should he in all respects current and alluring in the land 
market, hut they wanted all the world as a market for their 
immense and unrighteous landed wares. To this end, how- 
ever, it was necessary to contrive some way of evading the 
law of Georgia disabling aliens to hold land in this State. 
And here agian it was deemed expedient not to drive at 
their object openly but to seek it by legislative indirection and 
trickery. Their cunning plan was to have a clause inserted 
in the very Act of Sale affecting a patriotic hostility to 
foreigners becoming owners of real estate in Georgia. By 
this 'clause the Yazoo purchasers and their associates are 
prohibited from disposing of the lands in part or in the 
whole, in any way or manner, "to any foreign king, prince, po- 
tentate or power ivliatever." The palpable, precogitated ob- 
ject of inserting this clause was that the Yazoo companies 
should by clear implication be entitled to sell and convey to 
all other foreigners than the very few who fall under the 
description of .' 'kings, princes, potentates and powers." 
And not only is this almost boundless license of selling to 
foreigners thus surreptitiously incorporated in the law, but 
it is also required to be set forth in the very face of the 
grants that were to be issued under the law to the companies, 
in order that foreigners might thereby be the more strongly 
tempted to become buyers, seeing that their right to buy was 
doubly secured both by the law itself and then by the State's 
grants and conveyances founded upon it. Fit companion- 
piece this to the villainous "supplementary" device to which 
it is appended and which we have but a moment ago had 
occasion to reprobate and brand ! 



Not for more than three score years and ten, not indeed until 
a new and monstrous race of political caitiffs, foul harpies 
of the North, the vile brood of a peace worse than war, of a 
reconstruction worse than ruin, swarmed down upon our fair 
and hapless South and made it one vast sickening scene of 
official atrocity and villainy, securely practised under a re- 
morseless Federal patronage, had the people of Georgia ever 
gotten over their vivid, loathing remembrance of this old 
Yazoo crime. Now, however, that renowned turpitude of 
the last century has been unseated from its preeminence. Far 
outstripped by the teeming infamies, political and pecuni- 
ary, of these latter times, it is rfo longer capable of exciting 
amazement in the recollecting mind. Little wonder is now 
felt that in young, immature Georgia, some eighty years 
ago, a gigantic, corrupt speculation, as remarkable for the 
ability and standing of the men concerned in it as for the 
abundance and baseness of the means they employed, should 
have succeeded in debauching and triumphing over a poorly 
enlightened and very diminutive legislative body of those 
early times. 

Yes! very diminutive that body still was. For, although, 
by the formation of new counties the Senate had grown 
larger, still it consisted of only twenty members, every man 
of whom, save one, was in his seat on the final passage of 
the bill, and all voted except the -President, Benjamin Tali- 
aferro, ten for the law, eight against it. Had it been neces- 
sary for the President to vote, it is well known that he 
would have cast his vote in the negative, so that the meas- 
ure really had a majority of but one in the Senate. In the 
lower House the number of members still remained at 
thirty-four, there being a peculiar provision in the new con- 
stitution against the number being increased by the creation 
of new counties. There were but twenty-nine members 
present, including the Speaker, Thomas Napier, who did 
not vote. Nineteen votes were given in the affirmative 


and only nine in the negative. It effected tins, its second 
passage, through this body on the second of January, 
through the Senate on the third, and on the seventh Gover- 
nor Matthews affixed his hesitating signature, and the atro- 
cious deed was complete that has ever since resounded as a 
great shame in our history, blurring its virgin page, blight- 
iug every name implicated in it, and leaving more or less of 
blemish wherever a shadow of imputation connected with it 
has ever fallen. It required a mighty and multifarious ef- 
fort to accomplish it. Many men and every sort of men and 
means were subsidized and yet the change of a single vote in 
the Senate would have defeated it as we have just seen and 

i will not undertake to reproduce in detail here the revolt- 
ing scenes of which Augusta was the theatre during that 
infamous session, when everything was venal, when the 
Legislative Halls were converted into shambles, and the 
honor of the State and the grandest public interests were 
shamelessly put up to open sale for the vile lucre-sake of 
traitorous Representatives and their corruptors. Reason 
abundant is there forsooth to deter from attempting such 
portrayal. For I hold no graphic pen, and then what pen 
could impart to those scenes aught of horrific effect or pun- 
gent interest nowadays, when men's minds have become 
scared by spectacles of the grossest depravity in the high as 
well as low places of the government passing continually 
before their eyes and passing not only without punishment 
but without shame or rebuke? Suffice it to say that every 
vote given for the law save one, that of Robert Watkins, 
was undeniably a corrupt vote purchased either with money 
or the gift of subshares in the speculation, or both. In aid 
moreover, of the measure, the active exertions and influence 
of men of weight and character out of the Legislature was 
in very many instances secured by similar means, or by pre- 
vailing on them to become interested on like terms with the 
original members of the companies. It is due, however, to 
the memory of numerous persons who .became connected in 


this latter way with the speculation, seduced by the great and 
distinguished names of some leading men in it, to say that 
they were alike unknowing and incapable of the turpitude 
involved in the project, and that not a few. on their eyes 
being opened, instead of making haste after the example of 
their chiefs, to sell out arid pocket their gains, repudiated 
the whole thing, receiving, back subsequently under the 
provisions of the Rescinding Act of Georgia, the portions of 
the purchase money they had respectively contributed, 
whilst there were others who simply abandoned the pittance 
of one-fifth of the purchase money which it had devolved, on 
them to pay. The report made on the Ifith day of Febru- 
ary, 1803, by Messrs. Madison, Gallatin and Lincoln, com- 
missioners* under an Act of Congress for investigating the 
Yazoo claims, is accompanied with a long catalogue of the 
names of persons, Georgians and others, secondary as well 
as original purchasers, who had thus withdrawn their pay- 
ments from the State Treasury, amounting in the aggregate 
to $310,695 15. Thus it appears that in this as in most 
cases where a great multitude of people are implicated, not 
only were there many different degrees of guilt, but those 
also were to be found who by their conduct eventually saved 
themselves from the reproach of knowingly persevering in 

In this connection, the honored name of Patrick Henryf 
comes strikingly up and claims some mention. Yielding to 
that rather too great greed for money which is said to have 
characterized him and not duly reflecting, it may be hoped, 
on the objections to the speculation, he became a leading 
member of the Virginia Yazoo Company of 1^89. When, 
however, the heavy frowns and antagonism of Washing- 
ton aroused his attention to the demerits and criminality 
of the project, he seems to have stopped short ; at all events 
he allowed not himself to be connected with the subsequent 
Yazoo scheme, and is no more to be seen taking any part or 

* American State Papers, Public Lands. Vol. 1, p. 2UO. 
fAmerican State Papers. Public Lands. Vol. 1. p. !:J:.'. 1">0. 


interest in the thing, sought for although his great name 
was to give it sanction and enhance its chances of success. 
Happy for his imperishable fame, this rather narrow escape,* 
and that in him a strong sense of character and an almost 
exorbitant love of shining repute among men were sufficient 
checks against that mean passion for riches which was the 
bane of not a few public and official men in that day as 
well as in our own more impure times. 

In painful contrast with this conduct of the illustrious 
patriot orator stands that of a number of conspicuous, con- 
temporary characters whom, although clothed with public 
honors, neither that or any other consideration availed to 
restrain or reclaim from a career of turpitude and incivism 
into which they were drawn by the accursed thirst of gold. 
Their names, consequently, have found an unenviable berth 
in history, forever associated with the stench and stigma of 
the Yazoo Fraud. Nor do they deserve a better fate than 
that the more important among them at least should be re- 
called and gibbeted in these evil days of expiring public 
virtue and growing national vice and degeneracy. So may 
bad men, filling and betraying high public trusts, be taught 
what awaits them at the bar of posterity, however much 
they may flourish and prosper during their own base lives. 

Behold, then, occupying a place among the most exalted 
national dignitaries of his day, and at the same time figuring 
in the van of this corrupt and corrupting speculation, James 
Wilson, of Pensylvania, a signer of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, a member for years of the old Continental Con- 
gress, a member also of the Convention that framed the 
Constitution of the United States and at this very time one 
of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, 
appointed at the first organization of that great tribunal, 
the very tribunal before which he well knew might come, 
and before which eventually did come, though after his 

*Narrow, indeed, for some detriment he actually sustained in public estima- 
tion in Virginia from his connection with the Yaxoo business, notwithstanding 
his early disappearance from it. Wirt's Life of Patrick Henry; near the end. 


death, the question of the validity of the title acquired hy 
himself and his companions in this vast and profligate trans- 
action. Behold this man stooping from his proud official 
elevation, bringing disrepute on the sublimest judicial 
Bench in the world, and becoming an active, leading partner 
interested to the extent of three quarters of a million of 
acres* in a foul, lawless, unpatriotic speculation of gigantic 
magnitude and wickedness. Behold him there not only 
mightily interested, but by that interest so demoralized as 
to become an industrious, bare-faced worker in the vile 
cause :| behold him and from him learn how little assur- 
ance of purity the highest public station gives, and how 
little any official atmosphere is worth either as a safeguard 
or antidote against that moral poison for which poor human 
nature has such a lamentable affinity. Judge Wilson, un- 
happily, had run a long debasing career as a speculator, 
especially in Indian lands, dating back before the Revolu- 
tionary War,' the proofs of which are to be found in the 
American State Papers by the petitions and memorials with 
which he,, although a Judge of the Supreme Court, was not 
ashamed to importune Congress in behalf of Companies of 
speculators to which he belonged and of which he was the 
organ ^ : speculators, too, whose claims had a worse than 
Spanish character and stood upon a worse than the Spanish 
principle, because wholly unsupported by that precedent, 
governmental warrant and authority, which even the Spanish 
system imperatively required. These circumstances in re- 
gard to the Judge were doubtless well known to persons con- 
nected with the speculation residing in Philadelphia, the 
Judge's home, and became well known to Gen. Gunn also, 
whilst serving in Congress there. Hence the early and too 
well received overtures that were made to him. It was a 
great point to the Yazooists to have gained such a man as 
Judge Wilson to their ranks, though for his own fame and 

*American State Papers, Public Lands. Vol. 1, p 141. 
fWhite's Statistics, p 50. 

^American State Papers, Public Lands, Vol. 1. p, 27, 72, 73. Sanderson's 
Lives of the Signers ; Title, James Wilson. 


the honor of the great tribunal in which he sat, it is to be 
lamented that instead of listening to the overtures that were 
made to him, he did not like our more than Roman Sena- 
tor, Gen. James Jackson, firmly and indignantly repel 

Side by side, fit yokefellow with this Judge of the highest 
Federal Court, stands Nathaniel Pendletpn, District Judge 
of the United States for the District of Georgia, who to his 
services as a lobbyist for the concern added those of chair- 
man of the meetings of the coalitionists, signing and issuing 
as such the certificates for shares donated to the bribed mem- 
bers of the Legislature an-d the hirelings employed to buy 
and influence their votes. Of the nature and amount of his 
reward no trace is to be found, but that it was great in pro- 
portion to the dignity and sanctity of the ermine lie soiled 
and to the baseness and importance of the services he ren- 
dered there can be no doubt. f 

See, also, in the train of these two Federal Judges, their 
bold Aid-de-Camp, Mathew McAlister, District Attorney 
of the United States for Georgia, a leading member of the 
Georgia Company, one of the original grantees, who unlike 
the culprit Judges and some others, shrank not from having 
his name emblazoned on the face of the Act, where it stands 
opprobriously eternized, little advantaged by Gen. Jackson's 
consuming fire. See, also, William Stith, Judge of the 
Superior Courts of Georgia, arid at that time there were but 
two such Judges and but two Circuits, the Eastern and the 
"Western, to which the two Judges were equally elected and 
in which they had to preside by turns, thus bringing each 
Judge into every county of the State once a year in his judi- 
cial ridings. Judge Stith sold his great influence growing 
out of his office and these, his annual visitations all over the 
State, for $13,000 in money and some delusive hopes of the 
Governorship that were held out to him. The money he 
actually pocketed and found himself reproached afterwards 

f American State Papers, Public Lands, Vol. I, p. 145, 147. White's Statis- 
tics, p. 50. 


for not being generous with it to his poor relations.* His 
colleague in the Judgeship, the pure and upright George 
Walton, one of Georgia's immortal Signers, was incorrupti- 
ble, and his name is a pride to the State forever, free from 
spot or blemish. 

Stepping across the Savannah river, Colonel, afterwards 
General, Wade Hampton claims our attention as one of the 
imposing figures in the Yazoo group. He was a member 
elect to Congress from South Caorlina, a man, moreover, 
of high prestige from having been a gallant officer of the 
Revolution, distinguished now for his great wealth, his com- 
manding position in society, his extraordinary energy, en- 
terprise and capacity in affairs, all which necessarily made 
him a power wherever he put his hands or set his head. 
Behold this man, destined in after years to immense riches 
and to become widely famous as the most princely planter of 
all the South, and whom in his vigorous old age Mr. Madisjn 
honored by reproducing him on the field, first as a Brigadier 
General, in anticipation of a war with England, and then 
upon the breaking out of the war, as a Major General. But 
he was not more successful in adorning his gray hairs with 
new laurels than were the other Revolutionary veterans 
whom the President unluckily called from retirement and 
clothed with high command. The only distinction he won of 
which lam aware was that of being the ill-starred Gen. Wil- 
kinson's evil genius, superseding him by Presidential order 
at New Orleans, in 1810; quarreling instead of co-operating 
with him on the Canada line in 1813; and yet never called 
to any account or subjected to any Presidential censure 
therefor. But behold him now in his proud meridian of 
manhood, embarking in this vast speculation with his great 
means and influence, and a much more colossal interest than 
any other man. And further, behold him losing no time 
after the buying from the State, but with characteristic sa- 
gacity and celerity hastening to become a mighty seller of 
what he had bought, and in less than a year safely shifting 

American State Papers, Public Lands, Vol. I, p. 148. 


off his enormous portion of the prey into other hands at a 
huge profit and putting the money in his pocket, eluding thus 
the annulling vengeance of Georgia, which he well knew 
would soon start up in pursuit, but which he also knew 
could not overtake and rend the great villainy until another 
Legislature should meet and have a chance to act upon it.* 
Along with Col. Hampton, South Carolina sent to Augusta 
on the great felonious occasion another man of hardly less 
note and force, though noted in a different way, namely, 
Rohert Goodloe Harper, also a member of Congress, destined 
to become distinguished on that theatre, great both as a 
lawyer and statesman, whose speeches, long ago collected 
and published in two goodly octavos, I read and even studied 
in my young days and thought they ranked him among the 
giants of those old times. What drove him or drew him from 
the political field and from South Carolina afterwards, and 
sent him to Baltimore to bury himself there for the remain- 
der of his life in the practice of law, I have never known. It 
may have been a combination of causes. For in addition to 
his large interest of 131,000 acres, and consequent great ac- 
tivity in the Yazoo matter, he was one of those who perse- 
vered in 1801, through all the thirty-six ballotings, in cast- 
ing the vote of South Carolina for Aaron Burr against Mr. Jef- 
ferson in that fearful conflict for the Presidency; and so perse- 
vered in the face of the unquestioned fact that Mr. Jefferson 

American State Papers, Public Lands, Vol. 1, 197, and elsewhere under the 
Yazoo head. Military Affairs, Vol. 1, page 462, 479. 

Extract from White's Statistics, page 50: 

"In the lobbies of the Senate and House alternately, were to be seen a Judge 
of the Supreme Court of the United States, from Pennsylvania, with $-20,000 in 
his hands, it was said, fora cash payment; a Judge of the District Court of 
the United States, from Georgia, passing off shares of land to the members for 
their votes; and a Senator from Georgia, who had perfidiously neglected to 
proceed to Philadelphia to take his seat in Congress, and who was absent from 
his post until the three last days of the session, bullying with a loaded whip and 
by turns cajoling the numerous understrappers in speculation. There were to 
be seen also a Judge of our Superior Courts and other eminent Georgians, <tc. 

"Our sister State of South Carolina was also represented by one who was 
regarded as a prince of speculators, &c." 


was alike the electoral and popular choice of the State. The 
odor of both which passages in his life became afterwards 
so intensely bad in South Carolina as to have probably ren- 
dered the atmosphere there decidedly unsuited to him, polit- 
ically, professionally and socially. 

Coming back to Georgia, we behold on the speculators' 
dark roll not a few names of that day highly respectable in 
all the walks of private life, from the shades of which, as they 
never emerged while living, it would be wrong to drag them 
from the repose of the grave now that they are dead. 
Among them there were not wanting gifted minds and as- 
piring spirits who yearned for a high and bright career, but 
their political star, quenched beneath the horizon by their 
Yazoo complicity, was never allowed to ascend and shine in 
our firmament. Such seems to have been generally the fate 
of those who had come within blighting contact of the great 
villainy. To the sons of ambition it was the deadly polit- 
ical sin of that era, and for it no length of time or depth of 
penitence or merit of subsequent demeanor could ever 
bring amnesty or oblivion. 

The names we have recited and others of less celebrity, but 
of no mean pretensions in their time, show what an imposing 
array of talent, character and influence, and especially what 
a strong Law Staff the Yazooists hoasted in their ranks, and 
account abundantly for the legal skill and subtlety and the 
remarkable technical artifice and ability apparent in the 
contriving and framing of the legislation procured from the 
State. And it is by no means surprising that by the combined 
efforts of so many such men, with abundant pecuniary means 
at their command and no scruples or restraints of principle in 
their way, surrounded and reinforced, as they were besides, 
by a numerous phalanx of active subalterns and colaborers, 
our raw, petty, unschooled Legislature should have been 
jostled from its propriety, started, as it were, from its per- 
pendicularity, and made the more easy to give way before 
the grosser engines of bribery and corruption that were held 
in reserve and at length brought powerfully into play. 


SECTION V (Continued.) 

To quit the Yazoo Legislature with only the little notice 
tbat has yet been taken of 


would be unjust as well to him as to our theme, and would 
be pretty much such a slighting of him as it would be to 
snub Satan in giving an account of Pandemonium and its 
population, which, by the way, Dante came very nigh doing, 
for in all his long, downward journey under the escort of 
Virgil through the nine circles of his ever-narrowing, ever- 
intensating Hell, he fails to encounter or mention his Dia- 
bolic Majesty until having reached the nethermost depth 
where the reign of frost begins and never ends, he comes 
upon him at last writhing in lone, unsociable misery, 
wedged in eternal ice, with a hard, merciless chill upon him 
in the very neck of that inverted, infernal hollow cone.* 

What made this very undeserving or rather ill-deserving 
man, Gunn, so unduly prominent and distinguished in 
Georgia for a number of years is a puzzling question, one 
which finds no sufficient solution in any facts of his history 
which have come down to us. He belonged not to Georgia 
but to Virginia during the Revolutionary war, and came to 
the South in the army of General Greene, when that illus- 
trious commander was sent hither by Washington towards 
the close of the great struggle to retrieve the Carolinas and 
Georgia after that tremendous blow, the loss of the battle 
of Camden. The first trace of him I have succeeded in dis- 
covering presents him as a Captain of Dragoons in the Vir- 
ginia line, above which rank he never rose, nor is there any 
evidence of his ever having won distinction in it. Indeed, 
nothing is particularly known of his military career except 

*"Lo 'mperador del doloroso regno 

Da mezzo 'I petto usciafuor delta ghiaccia." 

Dell' Inferno, Canto 34. 

"The emperor of the dolorous realm from mid breast stood forth out of the 


his wanton and even wicked impressment and "bringing to 
Georgia for his own use of the celebrated stallion Romulus, 
about which the indefatigable widow, Amy Darden, never 
ceased to beset Congress, until finally she got her pay after 
nearly forty years of importunity; and then, secondly, he was 
afterwards guilty of another disreputable and improper piece 
of conduct about horses which brought upon him formal 
censure and reprimand from Gen. Greene ; and lastly, it is 
recorded of him that he failed to arrive in time with his 
dragoons to take part in a difficult and hazardous affair 
near Savannah as late as 1782, in which Gen. Wayne had 
ordered him to co-operate. The success of that attempt 
was complete, however, without his presence or aid, and as 
it was the last blow of the war (for in a very short time Sa- 
vannah was surrendered to Gen. Wayne by the British and 
the war ended in Georgia as it had already done substantial- 
ly, at least, everywhere else,) no inquiry was ever instituted 
whether his non-arrival in time was his misfortune or his 
fault. Such, neither more or less, is the whole story of 
Gunn's Revolutionary services so far as it is known at this 

Upon the close of the war, he took up his residence in 
Georgia, and seems to have thriven rapidly under the sun- 
shine of peace. For soon we read of him under the title of 
Colonel heading a posse of militia and breaking up a gang 
of runaway negroes who, having become demoralized during 
the war, had quitted the plantations, some for the British 
camps, some for the swamps, in one of which on Bear Creek 
they, after the peace, fortified themselves in their rude way 
both for greater safety and with a view of living permanent- 
ly by plunder, fish and game. This dispersing of the runa- 
ways was undoubtedly a very good thing done by Col. 
Gunn, but it was also the easiest and least perilous thing in 
the world, and any other Colonel or other commander of 
the posse could have done it as well, and the solemn 
pains with which it is circumstantially narrated in a 
stately history of the State savors a little of the ludicrous, 


and fails to help us to any solution of Gunn's subsequent 
rapid rise and distinction. 

For even if this feat could be supposed (as it cannot be) of 
any worth towards such a solution, it was more than coun- 
terbalanced by the ruffianly, disgraceful conduct of which 
he was guilty towards Gen. Greene.* That pure and noble 
man, second only to Washington in Revolutionary merit and 
glory, and to whom Georgia and the Carolinas owed such an 
incalculable debt of gratitude for their final deliverance from 
the clutches of the enemy, a debt which Georgia rejoiced to 
acknowledge by bestowing upon him a fine estate and a beau- 
tiful homestead near Savannah, this man who had so well 
earned and was so worthily enjoying honor and homage from 
the whole country, had hardly set his foot on the soil of 
Georgia as a resident, invited citizen, when he was met by 
Guun with what sort of welcome and hospitality? With 
pistol in hand, with challenge to mortal combat for alleged 
wrong done him by Gen. Greene as his commanding officer 
in the aforementioned matter about horses. Not the least 
strange thing in the case was that such a man as Colonel, 
afterwards General, James Jackson, should be Gunn's second 
and the bearer of his challenge. In apology for him, how- 
ever, let it be remembered that he was then a very young man, 
not more than 2*7 or 28 years old, and that he was by 
temperament not only pugnacious and intrepid in the high- 
est degree, but also impetuous and somewhat hasty. More- 
over he was a strong believer in the Code to which all gen- 
tlemen bowed in those days, and which holds every one 
answerable by duel for whatever wrong he inflicts on anoth- 
er's honor; a code which allows not a man to decline serving 
his friend or even a stranger as a second in a proper case. 
To all which it must be added that he was fresh from asso- 
ciation with Gunn as a brother officer in the field, and that he 
looked upon him as a gentleman and as his own peer; an opin- 
ion which must have subsequently undergone no small mod- 
ification. Now all these things made it obligatory on Jack- 

* Simms' L : ie oi Gen. Greene, chapter 35. 


son, according to his views, not to refuse to be Gunn's second 
in any proper' case, and the only error committed by him 
was in too hastily consenting to be his second before looking 
well into the case, and being sure it was a proper one. I say 
this was his only error, because his subsequent conduct made 
it so and made abundant amends for it besides. For upon 
his calling upon Gen. Greene with the challenge, and the 
General's declining to accept it and stating to him at the 
same time the circumstances which had prompted it, and his 
reasons for not accepting it, Jackson saw at once that Gen. 
Greene was right and tbat a challenge was not proper in the 
case ; and so seeing, he determined on the spot to withdraw 
from the matter and did withdraw, communicating to his 
principal this determination and his reasons. But these reas- 
ons, which were as imperative as honor itself with the noble 
Jackson, who ever felt bound to recede from what was 
wrong as well as to insist upon what was right, were thrown 
away upon Gunn's base, diabolic nature, and he renewed the 
challenge by another hand, which, upon Gen. Greene's 
again declining, the brute who sent it threatened to assault 
him on sight in the streets, a threat, indeed, which he 
never attempted to execute, though from his character no 
man could have felt sure of his abstaining from this outrage. 
So much was Gen. Greene wounded by this treatment on his 
first reaching his new home in a land of strangers, that he 
laid the whole matter before Washington by letter and asked 
his opinion and advice. Washington's reply fully sus- 
tained and commended the course he had pursued. Indeed, 
what can be more preposterous or pernicious than that supe- 
rior officers, even up to the very highest, should be held 
answerable to their subalterns by duel for their acts towards 
such subalterns in the administration of their commands? 

It only remains to be remarked about this behavior of 
Gunn's, that if any thing could add to its enormity, it is the 
fact that he had pocketed the alleged wrong for so long a 
space, and reserved his call in regard to it for a time and cir- 
cumstances which made that call an outrage, not only on 


Gen. Greene, but one also on the pride, honor and hospital- 
ity of Georgia; a call, moreover, from which he refused to 
desist even after his second, and that second such a man as 
Limes Jackson, had so strongly advised against it and 
stamped it with his disapproval and withdrawal from it as 
a second. 

Yet in spite of all his unworthiness and demerits, Gunn 
continued to mount up. He next became a Brigadier Gen- 
eral of militia, an office bestowed then, and for half a centu- 
ry afterwards, by the direct votes of the Legislature. Nor 
did he stop there. When Georgia acceded to the new Fed- 
eral Constitution, and the new Federal Government under it 
was about to go into operation in 1789, he was chosen along 
with William Few, as one of our first Senators in the Na- 
tional Congress, where his good fortune still pursued him, 
and, in the allotment of periods of service among the Sena- 
tors, gave him a full term of six years, while only four years 
fell to his colleague, Few. 

No particular causes have reached us for this, his great 
and undeserved political advancement. He had no popu- 
lar hold, such as grows out of long residence among a 
people, and strong and widely ramified sympathies and at^ 
tachments with them.- Nor, as we have seen, was his brow 
wreathed with laurels, gathered on the battle fields of the 
Revolution, far and near, like those of Gen. Anthony Wayne 
and Col. George Matthews, our unhappy Yazoo-rtiined Gov- 
ernor, causing our people to take them, new comers as they 
were, at once to their bosoms and to clothe them with their 
highest honors, and as they would still more have 
rejoiced to have done by Gen. Greene, had it pleased the 
Almighty to spare him to us. And, then, after Georgia, 
upon the close of the war, became Gunn's home, he did 
nothing of which we know to commend him to his new fel- 
low citizens, much certainly to discommend. There is but 
one way, and that not a very flattering one to him, of ac- 
counting for his extraordinary rise. It is simply that he 
was well gifted as a demagogue, as a shrewd, supple courtier 


of the people and their officials and representatives ; alto- 
gether unscrupulous, now bold, bullying, overbearing, 
now cringing, caressing, insinuating, according as circum- 
stances demanded ; master alike of the arts of intimidation 
and cajolery; in fine, possessed of the talents and qualities 
by which in free elective countries bad and worthless men so 
often attain to influence and power ; dexterous, unprincipled, 
invincible in seeking, incompetent and base in filling office. 
It is not hard to understand how such a man should have 
won the Senatorship the first time. The second time his 
success was undoubtedly in no small degree the work of his 
potent Yazoo friends and partners , and whom he repaid in 
the manner he had stipulated and to which we have adverted, 
namely, by the prostitution of his Senatorial influence and 
opportunities to their service. His energy, activity and con- 
spicuousness in the scenes of the Yazoo Fraud stand in 
strong contrast to his insignificance, bordering on nothing- 
ness, in his Senatorial sphere, in which he was mainly dis- 
tinguished for his tardiness of attendance and general indif- 
ference to duty. Some natures there are, which are aroused 
and find a congenial element only in plotting and doing 
things ignoble and bad, sinking into torpor and inanity in 
all the upper and purer atmospheres of life and action. Such 
a nature undoubtedly belonged to Gunn, who, with all his 
fair opportunities, both military and political, is destined, 
should he unhappily live in history, to be known there only 
as the chieftain of a great land robbing villainy and as the 
precursor and type in this country of a class of public men, 
now become shameless and common, pecuniary profligates 
and felons, disgracing the Congress of the United States and 
all the important places in the Government. 

His life and his long and inglorious Senatorship ended 
very nearly together. The precise time of his death I do not 
know, though it must have been not long before the meeting 
of the Legislature in 1802, for we find that Body indulging 
in a singular eccentricity of legislation in regard to him, 
exempting his estate from escheat and vesting it in a nephew, 


a Virginian, bearing his name. His last term in the Senate 
expired on the 3d of March, 1801, and that striking contrast 
to him and proud exemplar of all patriotism and of all pub : 
lie arid private honor and elevation of character, Gen. James 
Jackson, had already been chosen to replace him now, as 
some years previously, on the expiration of Mr. Few's time, 
he had been chosen to serve with him as a colleague. 


The bunded speculators had now gotten all they wanted 
from the Legislature : A law of sale making them un- 
shackled owners of vast and invaluable tracts of Indian ter- 
ritory, free from any dependence on the extinction of the 
Indian title or the consent of the General Government ; con- 
ditions designedly left out in their case and for their behoof, 
whilst they were rigorously required, as we have seen, as 
against our citizen soldiers. In all other respects, likewise, 
this Yazoo Law was moulded by the speculators to suit their 
own views and interests, and in so moulding it, they made 
it a Law, which even more strongly than the Yazoo Act of 
1789, was calculated to interfere with Indian rights and 
Spanish pretensions, and with our Spanish negotiations, and 
to put the peace of the country with the Indians and with 
Spain at hazard and at the mercy of the Yazoo purchasers, 
and of whomsoever might become their sub-claimants. 

Such being the manifest political tendency and danger of 
this second Yazoo sale in its aspect on national affairs, it 
could not but attract the attention of Washington, who, 
faithful to his policy of 1789, at once took his stand against 
this huge aggravation of the crime then so well thwarted 
by him. Accordingly, the first alarm on this new occasion 
was sounded by him; the first movement in opposition 
came from him. Upon receiving from Augusta a transcript 
of the nefarious Legislation, he lost no time in laying it 
before Congress, with the following Message : 


"February 17th, 1795. 
"Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives : 

"I have received copies of two Acts of the Legislature 
of Georgia, one passed on the 28th of December, the other 
on the 7th of January last, for the purpose of appropriating 
and selling the Indian lands within the territorial limits 
claimed by that State. These copies, although, not officially 
certified, have been transmitted to me in such a manner as 
to leave no doubt of their authenticity. These Acts embrace 
an object of such magnitude, and in their consequences may 
so deeply effect the peace and welfare of the United States, 
that I have thought it necessary to lay them before Con- 
gress. *** ***** 
(signed) GEO. WASHINGTON. 

It would be quite superfluous to enter upon any inquiry 
as to the grounds Washington had for the importance he 
attached to this subject, and for the great solicitude it occa- 
sioned him. Enough certainly is to be found in the fore- 
going pages to render that matter plain. As little difficult 
is it to see why in his message he coupled the State Troops 
Act of the 28th-of December, with the Yazoo Act of the 7th 
of January, and communicated them together to Congress ; 
although the former viewed merely by itself was an inno- 
cent thing, containing nothing that was wrong or alarming; 
a result that was prevented by the clause in it prohibiting 
any steps being taken under it until two months after the 
Indian title should be extinguished, and in regard to the 
Tallassee country, not until the consent of the General 
Government should be given. But although thus innocent 
in itself, it was perverted to iniquity by being tied to the 
Yazoo Act, the sinister aims of which it was made at once 
malignly to aid and elucidate. 

It is note worthy that Washington, after simply submit- 
ting the matter and the two obnoxious Legislative acts of 
Georgia to Congress, stopped short with a very brief ex- 
pression of his opinion about them. He recommends no 
Legislation nor suggests any measures whatever to the tvro 


Houses. The reasons for this reticence in his message are 
obvious. No new Legislation tvas wanted. A law had been 
passed in 1793 regulating Indian affairs and intercourse, 
which was ample in its provisions for all emergencies that 
could arise. So Washington thought, and so the Commit- 
tee to whom the subject was referred, and Congress itself 
thought ; therefore no further Legislation was proposed 
from any quarter. The Committee contented themselves 
with a Report and Resolutions presented on the 23rd of Feb- 
ruary, in which they emphatically denounced the Yazoo 
sale as an absolute conveyance to the Companies of Indian 
territories amounting, say the Committee, to three-fourths 
of all the lands held by the Indians under the sanction of 
National treaties within the limits claimed by Georgia, of 
which treaties the sale was of course a direct and gross in- 
fringement, which the Government of the United States 
would be bound to resist whenever attempted to be practi- 
cally carried out. The Committee further declare that the 
prerogatives over Indian affairs involved such wide, various 
and serious consequences, and so deeply affected the general 
good, that they could properly belong only where the Con- 
stitution had vested them in the National Authorities, 
whose duty they pronounced it to be, to secure the Indians 
in their rights under the National Treaties ; and they call 
upon the President not to permit infractions of these Trea- 
ties by our own citizens or others, and assure him of the full 
support and co-operation of Congress in all these matters. 
Still further, they call upon him not to permit treaties for 
the extinguishment of Indian titles to be held at the in- 
stance of individuals or States, even where the property in 
the lands would, upon such extinguishment, belong to such 
individuals and States, &c. And they wind up by recom- 
mending that all persons who shall be assembled or embod- 
ied in arms on lands belonging to the Indians, for the 
purpose of warring against them, or committing depreda- 
tions upon them, shall thereby become liable to the rules and 
articles of war established for the government of the Troops of 
the United States. 


This Report and Resolutions met the full sanction of Con- 
gress and the country, which thus stood shoulder to shoulder 
with Washington in his well known Indian and anti-Yazoo 
policy. Even before the ahove mentioned Act of 1793 was 
passed, and when consequently he had nothing to guide him 
and point out his duty on this subject, but the broad gener- 
alities of the Constitution, he had not hesitated to take on 
himself the responsibility of effectually oppugning and nulli- 
fying the first Yazoo sale by forbidding and arresting all at- 
tempts of the beneficiaries under it to occupy the Indian 
lands. Now, that his sense of duty in the matter and his 
Executive ability were both abundantly reinforced by appro- 
priate legislation from Congress and by such expressions 
and resolves as had promptly emanated from that Body in 
response to his message, nothing could be more certain than 
the overwhelming discomfiture which awaited the Yazooists 
at his hands, should they dare to provoke a conflict with 
him by attempting to wrest their ill-gotten lands from the 
Indians, either by outright force or by any treaties or ar- 
rangements of their own with them, whether open or 

The dangers thus impending over the Yazoo purchasers 
| from the national arm, though in the distance and contin- 
gent on prior aggressive movements by those purchasers 
themselves, had been fully foreseen by them all the while, 
and they saw, too, that they were dangers from which their 
only mode of escape (to which they were prompt to resort) 
was to hasten, after their purchase from the State, to sell off 
their lands and to leave to those, who should purchase 
of them, to succeed also to all the threatened difficul- 
ties and perils of the case, whether coming from the 
General Government or from Georgia. In the actual 
event of things, however, it befell not either the original 
grantees or their sub-purchasers to have this apprehended 
collision with the General Government. For Georgia, 
quickly intervening with her rapid, unsparing vengeance, 
as we shall soon see, crushed the villainy ere it reached 


the stage at which to incur blows from the Federal arm. 
And this speedy, clearly foreseen vengeance of Georgia it 
was, far more than what was remotely feared from the Fed- 
eral arm, that caused the Companies to be in such a culprit 
hurry to trade off their wicked landed plunder before anoth- 
er Legislature should meet and have a chance of dealing 
with their crime. To this end their agents and emissaries 
were dispersed promptly and widely over the country. ' They 
were successful in finding for some two or three millions 
of acres, an early market in the South at an immense per- 
centage of profit. But it was the North, then as now the 
home of mouied capital and of an intense adventurous love 
of gain, that was chiefly the buyer and the victim. The 
Georgia Company dispatched thither, during the summer, a 
shrewd, plausible, persuasive salesman, who acquitted him- 
self alike to the satisfaction of his employers and to the cap- 
tivation of quite a number of the solid men of Boston, selling 
them eleven millions of acres at eleven cents per acre, thereby 
making a profit of nearly a million of dollars to his Com- 
pany. These Bostonians subsequently organized under the 
name of the New England Mississippi Land Company, and 
proceeded to scatter their lands at greatly increased prices 
among thousands of beguiled Northern people upon whom 
soon fell that Tower of Siloam, the Rescinding Act of Geor- 
gia, and held them crushed, though not killed, for almost a 
score of years, until at length the Supreme Court and Con- 
gress came to their rescue. They were, or rather were as- 
serted years afterwards by their Congressmen to be, innocent 
buyers without notice, second purchasers, ignorant and un- 
suspecting of the fraud that vitiated their title from its very 
birth. A story not very likely, when we recall how the fraud 
glared out on the face and in all the facts of the Yazoo legisla- 
tion, how it resounded through the newspapers all over the 
United States, how it stuck out obvious in the very deeds (all 
without any general warranty of title) which were made by 
the Companies to their under-purchasers, and by these latter 
to their successors. And then as to the unlawfulness and 


criminality of the sale by the State in a national point of view, 
who can with decency pretend that Washington's above- 
noticed message and the action of Congress thereon was not 
warning enough to put the whole world on notice and on its 

Sales of large amount were also made with the least pos- 
sible loss of time by the several companies in various other 

* Mr. Lucas, of Virginia, in his speech on the Yazoo Claims, in the House of 
Representatives, January, 1805, adverting to the pretence of the want of notice 
on the part of the New England purchasers, says : "That they should not have 
heard of the notorious fraud that had taken place at the passing of the Act of 
1795 is a great astonishment to me ; that they should have made a purchase of. 
eleven millions of acres without making inquiries sufficient to discover what 
almost everybody knew throughout the United States, if possible, increases my 
astonishment. For my part, having never thought of purchasing any land from 
the Georgia land companies, I made no inquiry about the Acts of the Legisla- 
ture of Georgia; yet the corruption was so flagrant, the fraud so notorious; 
that it reached my ears soon after it was passed." Mr Lucas then proceeds to 
allude to President Washington's message, above quoted, as a proclamation to 
the whole country against the Yazoo Sale, which must be presumed to have come 
to everybody's knowledge, and was quite enough to put everybody on notice, 
He then proceeds to say : "I should rather think that the speculators of New 
England, sober and discreet, as they style themselves to be, found the bargain 
so good and tempting, the means of pleading ignorance of fraud committed in 
the original purchase so easy, the means on the part of the State of Georgia or its 
vendees to prove the notice so difficult, that the sober and discreet speculators of 
New England thought it advisable to make a gambling bargain, expecting 
that the two extremities of the United States being engaged in the same specu- 
lation, would combine their influence to press hard upon the centre and save 
through the conflict their speculation in whole or in part. Other strong cir- 
cumstances lead still more to the belief that the New England Company were 
well aware of the danger which did exist in making a purchase from the Geor- 
gia Land Companies and that they were taking unusual risks on themselves. 
This appears clearly from the face of their deeds ; not only the covenant of 
warranty is special instead of being general, but another extraordinary cove- 
nant is entered into by which the Georgia Company 'is not liable to the refunding 
of any money in consequence of any defect in their title from the State of Geor- 
gia, if any such there should appear hereafter to be !' Was not such covenant 
smelling strongly of the fraud which the Georgia Grant was impregnated with ? 
Could the New England Company take more clearly every risk on themselves 1 ? 
Could they more expressly preclude themselves from every remedy in law or 
equity in case of eviction?" Benton's Ab. of Congressional Debates, Vol. Ill 
p. 323, 324. 

See also the speech of Mr. Clark and others in the same debate. 


parts of the Union, chiefly in the great cities of the North, 
and to some extent also to foreigners, at prices ranging from 
eight and ten to twenty cents per acre, resulting in immense 
aggregate gain. Thus did the original grantees (except the few 
who took back their money and gave up their interest in the 
land under the Rescinding Act,) achieve a complete triumph, 
carrying out successfully their programme, which was neither 
more nor less than by fraud and corruption to purchase 
these lands from the State for a mere trifle, and then quick- 
ly to shift them off at a huge profit upon others, whom it 
was their plan to leave to their fate, whatever it might be, 
of danger, loss or ruin. The Yazoo speculation is seen con- 
sequently standing before us bristling with successful fraud, 
at both ends : Fraud, first, in the purchase from the State, 
and then fraud again in the sales by the original purchasers 
to the various secondary buyers. 

But it was not merely the above mentioned Report and 
Resolutions in Congress which Washington's message called 
forth. The two Houses, incensed at what Georgia had done, 
felt at the first moment a strong impulse to question her 
title, and that of the speculating Companies derived from 
her, and anticipating that the adverse Spanish title would 
now soon devolve on the United States by treaty for what- 
ever it might be worth, determined to probe to the bottom 
the right of the State to the territory she had so unpatriot- 
ically alienated to a knot of speculators in preference to the 
United States. To this end, at the very close of the session 
a joint resolution was adopted directing the Attorney Gen- 
eral, Charles Lee, to prepare and present to the next Con- 
gress a report on the title of Georgia. That eminent law 
officer took abundant time and was at the utmost pains, 
and at length, on the 29th of April, 1796, after more than 
a year had elapsed from the date of the call upon him, and 
six months after the Spanish cession to the United States 
by the treaty of San Lorenzo, he presented his report, which 
is now to be found in the American State Papers, filling 
more than thirty great folio pages forming a fine specimen 


of the thorough and faithful manner in which the public 
men of that day performed their duty.* Georgia, in partic- 
ular, is under obligations to Mr. Attorney General Lee for 
his laborious research and for the great mass of interesting 
documentary materials relating to her infantine period, 
which, by ransacking both sides of the Atlantic, he was 
enabled to bring together. These materials, upon being 
studied, demonstrated instead of damaging the title of 
Georgia from Great Britain, and placed it indubitably above 
that which the United States got from Spain by the treaty 
of San Lorenzo. 

There cannot be a doubt that the call on the Attorney 
General on this occasion was caused by an opinion prevalent 
to some extent in Congress that the title of Georgia, derived 
from Great Britain, and now nefariously conveyed to the 
Yazooists, would, upon investigation, have to give way be- 
fore what they supposed would be the better title the Uni- 
ted States were expecting soon to acquire from Spain, and 
that thus the title of the Yazooists, acquired from Georgia, 
would be superseded. This opinion was not unfrequently 
expressed in debate and in the reports of committees. Nor 
was it an opinion merely : With many there was a strong 
wish to the same effect, so intense was the resentment 
against the Yazoo sale, and so powerful the desire to defeat 
it. But both the opinion and the wish were soon seen by 
everybody to be utterly inadmissible in the presence of the 
great diplomatic fact that the title of Georgia constituted 
the only ground of claim and right advanced by our country 
in its great territorial strife with Spain, and being thus the 
banner under which that strife was waged and won on our 
side, could not now by any possibility be hauled down and 
set at naught by the United States in the very face of the 
great territorial victory they had just achieved under it. 

* American State Papers, Public Lands, Vol. I, Pages 34, 69. 



We have now reached a point in this .long and intricate 
drama, at which the curtain drops for several years on the 
General Government and Georgia re-enters on the scene, to 
become this time the fierce assailant and undoer of the mon- 
strous villainy that had been so recently enacted in her Leg- 
islature and under her name. Though the hue and cry 
against the enormity was first raised, as we have seen, at 
the Federal Capital and by the Federal Executive and Con- 
gress, yet here at home, the shock was far the deepest and 
most violent. It was here the crime struck with its most 
heinous, deadly effect, despoiling the State at once of a vast 
public property and her precious public honor, not only 
robbing her of invaluable territories, but doing it under cir- 
cumstances that brought imputation on her national patriot- 
ism and magnanimity, doing it, moreover, by debauching 
her trusted public servants, whom she had chosen to be the 
guardians, not betrayers of her high interests and her fair 
fame. Thus had that crime wounded her in a point dearer 
than landed or monied wealth, tarnished her reputation, de- 
filed at its young fountain head the eternal stream of her 
history and polluted the waters mingled with which her 
name was to go down to future times, and especially to her 
own children forever. 

I design not recounting minutely the oft told, familiar 
story of the State's strong sovereign action in resentment and 
redress of this celebrated wrong. That story, at ODCC simple 
and striking, has ever been so much an attractive theme to 
writers and talkers as to have become thread bare and to re- 
coil from any thing like a labored handling now. Prelimi- 
narily, however, it should be told that the first effect of the 
sale on the mass of the people was stunning stupefaction and 
amazement. They found difficulty in believing that the 
deed had been done. The entire failure of the measure be- 
fore the preceding Legislature and the entire quietude and 
silence in regard to it that had ensued, had rendered them 


unsuspecting and secure, and they had let the subject pass 
off from their minds and it occurred not to them that it had 
not been equally dropt by the speculating Companies. 
They were unaware that these latter had been during 
the whole interim stealthily, yet industriously, at work every 
where, both in and out of Georgia, and had really gotten into 
their hands the complete mastery of the game before they 
again came out to light and began to take open steps to- 
wards their object. It is wonderful what a profound privacy 
they had succeeded in maintaining in their widely ramified 
operations, a privacy kept up to the last possible moment. 
Even after their b : ll was introduced, there was no notoriety 
beyond Augusta and its neighborhood that such a measure 
was on hand. No publicity had been given to it, no an- 
nouncement made of it by any name or title pointing to 
its character or contents. A lying title concealed its true 
nature which consequently was not indicated by anything on 
the journal of either House or in the newspapers, which 
were wont to give only lists of the titles of the bills intro- 

The consequence of all which was that the people awoke 
to find themselves outraged and robbed without having had 
any notice of the design or warning of their danger or the 
least chance of outcry and resistance. At first they were 
likewise ignorant of the turpitude of the means by which 
the wrong had been effected, or what strangers, or who 
among themselves except the guilty members of the Legis- 
lature and the few grantees named in the act, were concern- 
ed in its perpetration. They soon, however, became better 
and bitterly enlightened. The astounding discovery broke 
upon them that the cancerous fibres of the monstrous transac- 
tion pervaded not only the State but the United States, and 
embraced they knew not how many powerful and influential 
names and shrewd, unscrupulous characters. They were 
especially struck with the successful pains that had been 
taken to enlist in its interest all the men in Georgia who 
were prominent enough to attract the base courtship of the 


Yazooists and pliant enongh to become their tools and ac- 
complices. Most of those to whom the people would natur- 
ally have looked to become their leaders and to champion 
their cause in this great emergency, were either bought up 
and subsidized on the side of the enemy by their own inte- 
rests or paralyzed by their relations to interested parties. 
Besides, not many men were there, indeed, who were at all 
competent to such leadership and championship as was 
wanted. Nothing short of the highest courage and the 
greatest energy, reputation, talents and self devotion could 
constitute the necessary qualifications. He who should give 
himself to the people's service on this occasion had need of 
a charmed life and an invincible soul, as well as of a con- 
centrated and commanding mind : For assuredly it was a 
lion's den he would have to enter, a liery furnance through 
which he would have to pass. And by universal concession 
there was but one man in the State, in all respects equal 
and fitted to the exigency, and who at the same time had 
kept himself pure and intact, and but for the extraordinary 
self-abnegation and lofty, patriotic intrepidity and devotion 
of that one man, the people would have been without a 
leader and champion, such as the case imperatively required. 
That man was General James Jackson, the noblest and 
most admirable name in the history of Georgia, then a 
member of the United States Senate as Mr. Few's succes- 
sor and General Gunn's colleague. 

I do not know that I can open the part acted by this ex- 
traordinary man against the Yazoo Fraud better than by 
recalling a personal reminiscence of my own full half a cen- 
tury old and more. It was at Hancock Superior Court, at 
April term, 1823, a date at which the Governor was still 
chosen by the Legislature, and as the name of one of those 
understood to be aspiring to the office was to be found in the 
old public documents as the owner of a few Yazoo subshares, 
conversation began to be somewhat turned to the subject of 
the Yazoo Fraud and young men, especially, were keen in- 
quirers. It was under these circumstances that a number 


of the junior members of the bar were sitting one night 
after supper in the large, pleasant room, up stairs, which 
our good host, William G. Springer, whose soul contended 
with his body, which should be biggest, had assigned to us 
across the street, when we were agreeably startled by 
Judge Dooly* entering to pay us a visit, a courtesy on the 
part of the Judges not uncommon in those days. The 
Judge, whose rniud was a rich treasury of the miscellanies 
of Georgia, past and present, and whose manner of saying 
everything was singularly plain, condensed and incisive, 
was soon drawn out on the Yazoo Fraud. My recollection 
has ever since been perfectly distinct of the following remark 
made by him in the course of his conversing : " The peo- 
ple," he said, " were generally against the Yazoo sale, but 
the rich and leading men were mostly for it, because, in 
most instances, they or some of their friends or relations 
were interested in it. The people wanted to get rid of it, 
but did not know how to do it. They had nobody to lead 
and contrive for them, and Gen. Jackson resigned his seat 
in the United States Senate and came home and ran for the 
Legislature in Chatham county, and was elected to lead and 
contrive for the people." 

Such were the very words of Judge Dooley to us young 
men about Gen. Jackson words which struck me greatly 
and imprinted themselves indelibly, enkindling my mind 
with a most vivid and exalted conception of the illustrious 
character, t) whom they related and making him from that 
moment a study and almost an idolatry to me. The annals 
of mankind teem with the names of heroes, martyrs, self- 
sacrificers, martial, moral, religious men who have held 
their lives and their ease as nothing in the scale against 
glory, duty, honor ; and yet among them all I am unable 

* Whoever may feel curious as to what sort of physiognomy belonged to that 
very striking man, John M. Dooly, long the Judge of the Northern Circuit^ 
the greatest wit as all agreed, and generally conceded to have been also the 
greatest judicial intellect of his day, may see a wonderfully true likeness of 
him (Adonised, however,) in the portrait of the celebrated painter, Gilbert 
Stuart, in the 1st Volume of the American Portrait Gallery. 

THE YA7X)0 FRAUD. 117 

to recollect any instance parallel and fully up to this con- 
duct of Gen. Jackson so pointedly stated by Judge Dooly, 
so barely and sleepily mentioned by history. Certainly our 
own country, vast and diversified as it is, has hitherto fur- 
nished nothing equal to it or like it, nor does it promise ac- 
cording to present symptoms ever to do so. Does any man 
believe that there is now to be found in all the low minded 
ranks of power and of the public service a single bosom in 
which even a dormant possibility dwells of such sublime, 
self-denying, unselfish patriotism? What United States 
Senator would now resign his seat with yet four years to run 
and come homa and seek the humblest Representative post 
known to our system of Government, and all for the sake of 
the people arid their rights and vindication ? 

Gen. Jackson, however, had given some evidence on a 
previous occasion in his life of his capability of this neplns 
ultra of public virtue. In 1V88, when but thirty years old, 
he had been elected to the office of Governor of the State, and 
declined accepting it upon the ground of lacking age and ex- 
perience. It was in full keeping with this act of noble, pa- 
triotic modesty and humility that he should afterwards in 
1*795, have so subjugated an ambition of the most ardent 
and lofty type as to give up the highest and become a candi- 
date for the lowest place in political service, because he be- 
held his beloved Georgia in a mighty trouble in which she 
needed the sacrifice from him, and in which by making it he 
could do so much more and better for her, although at the 
cost of doing so much less and worse for himself. 

For well he knew not only what he was surrendering, but 
also to what he was exposing himself when he magnani- 
mously resolved to descend from the high round of the polit- 
ical ladder to which he had climbed down to the very bot- 
tom, there to scuffle and fight, "lead and contrive for the 
people," both against all the bad men who had combined, 
and all the good men who had been misled, to become the 
State's betrayers and robbers, or the supporters of its betray- 
ers and robbers. He knew what enemies he was necessitat- 


ing himself to make and how deeply they would he enven- 
omed against him, and that their thirst for his hlood would 
be only less keen than their greed for the prey he was "bent 
on snatching from their grasp. He knew, in fine, that from 
the first moment to the last of the work on which he was 
entering, he would have to carry his life in his hand, although 
the ultimate fate that awaited him lay concealed from hu- 
man view, and none could foresee that a life so dear and in- 
valuable was destined to pass away, alas ! so prematurely 
a slow-wasting sacrifice, long offered up on the altar of Geor- 
gia's interest and honor.* 

From the first Gen. Jackson had been outspoken and ve- 
hement in his denunciations of the sale., arid had contributed 
greatly to rousing the popular rage against it. This, even 
before he had doffed his Senatorial robes for a candidacy for 
the State Legislature, and thereby formally entered the lists 
as the people's leader and champion against a host of powerful 
and unscrupulous men whose mortal fear and hatred he 
thenceforward incurred. The people at once hailed him and 
rallied to him, and it was not long before under his brave 

*Col. Benton, in his Abridgement of the Congressional Debates, Vol. TII. 
twice comments upon Gen. Jackson and the cause of his death. At p. 338 is 
the following note at the close of the debate on the Yazoo Claims : 

"Mr. Randolph was the great opposer of these claims in Congress and Gen- 
| eral Jackson their great opposer in Georgia. It was he, who aroused the 
I feeling that overthrew the General Assembly who made the grant, and elected 
I the Legislature which annulled the Act, and burned the record of it. He was 
in the Senate of the United States with James Gunn, the Senator alluded to in 
the debate as being engaged in the Fraud, and lost his life in the last of the 
many duels which his opposition to that measure brought upon him." 

And again at page 4(35, in a note to the proceedings in Congress on the occa- ' 
sion of Gen. Jackson's death, March 19th, 1806, Col. Benton says among other 
things : "He was a man of marked character, h'gh principle and strong temper- 
ament honest, patriotic, brave, hating tyranny, oppression and meanness in 
in every form ; the bold denouncer of crime in high as well as in low places; 
a ready speaker, and as ready with his pistol as his tongue, and involved 
in many duels on account of his hot opposition to criminal measures. The de- 
feat of the Yazoo Fraud was the most signal act of his Legislative life, for 
which he paid the penalty of his life, dying of wounds received in the last o* 
the many duels, which his undaunted attacks upon that measure brought upon 


auspices and their fierce enthusiasm the battle into which 
they had plunged was substantially won. For the storm 
quickly overspread the State with a violence that appalled the 
Yazooiats and their myrmydons, and they everywhere slunk 
and cowered before it long before the election day came. 
But still Jackson's hot and heavy blows were not mitigated, 
nor did the people's vengeful energy slacken. It was more 
than even the bravo, Gunn, could brave or bear. He became 
utterly paralyzed and annihilated, as it were, by the intense, 
crushing detestation of which he was sensible of having be- 
come the object, and we hear no more of him whatever ex- 
cept that he continued to occupy to the last day of his new, 
basely gotten terra, the seat in the National Senate, which 
he at once obscurely filled and flagrantly dishonored. The 
bribed Senators and Representatives in the Legislature met 
from their constituents a fate similar to that of their brib- 
ing, bullying chief. The tempest of public indignation 
against them was such as made not a few of them tremble 
for their personal safety on their return home. But their 
fears were groundless. Such was the orderly, law abiding 
character of our ancestors, except in cases where society is 
obliged to resort to the ''higher law" for its purgation and 
protection, that, content with the sort of penalty which 
God inflicted on Cain, they simply branded their culprit 
legislators and consigned them to political death and social 
ostracism and infamy. 

In making this statement I am not unaware that a sur- 
mise older than my earliest recollection, indeed, older than 
myself, long existed in some minds, making the case of 
Roberts Thomas, the recreant Senator from Hancock, whose 
high-priced vote turned the scale in favor of the Yazoo sale, 
an exception to this eulogium on the people's moderation. 
But even on the worst supposition anybody ever entertained 
(which was that Jonathan Adams, or some other person, 
whose dark secret was never suspected, followed him from 
Hancock in his flight and overtook and assassinated him in 
South Carolina) it was but the crime of an individual to 


which the public was in no way party or privy. An uncon- 
cealed, formal flogging, "hugging a sapling,"* meanwhile, 
or some other still lighter corporal punishment and disgrace 
was all he ever had to fear (and it was this fear that made 
him flee) from his incensed constituents who never dreamed 
of anything harsher against him than his ignorainous ex- 
pulsion from their midst. Not a man in Hancock ever har- 
bored such a thought as that of pursuing and assassinating 
him after his flight, f The most probable theory of his 
murder is that it was procured by some arch fiend among 
the Yazooists. Thomas' vacilation, timidity and extortion 
had already excited their displeasure and uneasiness before 
he gave that vote for them, which they were obliged to have 
at any price, because if given the other way it would be fa- 
tal to -them. His vote obtained and the law passed, their 
uneasiness about him was still kept alive by his indiscre- 
tions before he left Augusta and by his coward weakness 
after he got home. And when soon afterwards he took to 
flight, thereby proclaiming not only his fears, but, as it was 

*Sallard's Jlffidavit, American Stale Papers, Public Lands, Vol. I, p. 149. 

fBoth White in his Statistics of Georgia, page 50, and Gov. Gilmer in his 
book, entitled "Georgians," take it for granted that Thomas met his late from 
the hands of some of his constituents. Gov. Gilmer, though not naming Jona- 
than Adams, indicates him clearly to every Hancock man as the assassin. 
The logic which inculpated Adams, ran in this wise : "The Adamses were a 
strong charactered and very leading, patriotic family in the county and were 
particularly indignant at Thomas' Yazoo vote and against Thomas himself for it. 
Thomas fled and was assassinated. After which Jona. Adams fell into bad health 
and became a great hypochondriac for a number of years. Therefore, some 
people wondered whether he had not something dreadful on his conscience and 
whether that something was not the killing of Thomas." Such was the syllo- 
gism that I heard occasionally whispered in Hancock in my boyhood, of 
which it will be seen that the premises being weak, the conclusion is a mere 
doubt or wonder. By the time it reached Oglethorpe county it must have be- 
come a positive belief or Gov. Gilmer would not have put it in his book as a 
fact. This sort of reasoning was liable, however, to refutation and was actu- 
ally refuted by Adams' eventual recovery of his health, mental and physical. 

Gov. Troup was in Congress during the Yazoo discussions, and in a speech 
quoted by Gen. Harden in his Life of him, allndes to the suspicion that Thomas' 
assassination was contrived by the Yazooists. Such is my recollection, but I 
have not the book at hand. 


argued, his and their guilt also, which they were solicitous 
should not be noised abroad, at least until they should have 
time to sell off their ill-acquired lands, under the im- 
pulse of malignant fear, fury and precaution, they contrived 
his death by the hand of some hired assassin who dogged 
him from Augusta beyond doubt. For it was the very night 
after passing through that city that he was killed. And 
thus was stilled forever that tongue from which alone they 
had fears of the early betrayal of the yet secret crime of the 
corruption they had used, and the continued secrecy of which 
long enough for their purposes they madly hoped might be 
secured by the prompt taking off of one whom they regard- 
ed with suspicion and fear as having it in his power and as 
being weakly liable to make damaging disclosures against 
them. So does crime breed crime, the progeny often, more 
hideous than the parent, as all prose and verse, all history 
and observation have always proclaimed. 

But although there was so much popular excitement which 
found expression through public meetings, the presentments 
of Grand Juries, the voice of the Press, and by petitions and 
memorials from every quarter which, numerously signed, 
were sent up to a Constitutional Convention about to be held 
at Louisville in the ensuing month of May,* yet the people 
never fully understood how bad and desperate the state of 
things was, till after that Body had met and proved itself 
false to all their expectations. Then it was that the 
veil was entirely lifted, disclosing a spectacle for which they 
were unprepared, the spectacle of the Convention itself act- 
ing as an accessory to the Yazoo Fraud and playing strong- 
ly into its hands. This great and new fangled treachery, 
more infamous than that of the Yazoo Legislature in propor- 
tion as a Constitutional Convention is a Body more exalted 
and more highly trusted than an ordinary Legislative As- 
sembly, has long since died out of the minds of men. But 
it becomes necessary even at this late date to disinter it from 

*Benton's Jbridg. Debates, Vol. Ill, p. 325. Whites Statistic*, p. 51. 


its long oblivion as forming a part not less material than re- 
pulsive of the odious history through which we are wading. 
The Convention,- then, of May, 179o, was the child of the 
Constitution of 1789, a Constitution rather hurriedly gotten 
up by our forefathers to meet the advent of the newly launched 
Federal system of the United States which Georgia was among 
the first to greet and accept. Care, however, was wisely 
taken by the State's Constitution makers of '89 to insert in 
their hasty framework of government a provision for its own 
early revision and emendation. That provision required 
that at the election of members of the Legislature in 1794, 
delegates should also be chosen, three from each county, to 
meet at such time and place as the Legislature should ap- 
point to deliberate and determine what alterations and amend- 
ments should be made in the Constitution. It thus happen- 
ed that this election of members of the Convention took place 
at the same time and by the same constituencies and under 
all the same circumstances and influences with the election 
of the members of the Yazoo Legislature, and the specula- 
tors were altogether too shrewd a set of men not to see that 
it was best to have the Convention as well as the Legislature 
on their side. They took their measures accordingly. 
Great though quiet and secret pains were used to pack the 
Convention with their friends and with persons thought to 
be accessible to the influences they could bring to bear. 
They wanted, too, at least one master mind and commanding 
character there to watch over their interests, to lead and 
manage for them and to keep things in such a channel as 
would be for their advantage. They found and returned 
such a person in George Walker, of Richmond county. 
This gentleman ranked among the first men in the State for 
talents, address, popularity and high future promise, and 
was, by all odds, the very foremost of the Georgians, whom 
the Yazooists had succeeded in enlisting in their scheme. 
lie was one of their leading partners and his name stands 
out with those of James Gunn and Matthew McAllister, 


printed in the Act as one of the original Grantees of the 
Georgia Company. 

Having such advantages as these on their side in the com- 
position of the Convention and perfect concert and under- 
standing among themselves besides, the Yazooists found it 
not difficult to carry things their own way in that body over 
the not very small sprinkling of good and true, but not 
particularly effective men, who were their fellow members. 
And their way and ivish ivas to favor and protect, the Yazoo 
speculation and save it from harm. Ignoring almost entirely 
the high duty of amending the Constitution for which they 
had been called together, they devoted themselves to aiding 
and screening the great Fraud. Their whole doings are dis- 
tent with internal evidence of this aim. It is apparent in 
what they did and in what they did not do. There is noth- 
ing which the speculators could have asked or wanted which 
either through the action or non-action of the Convention 
they did not get ; whilst of all that the people asked for 
and expected, not a whit was granted or done. What was 
most desirable for the Yazooists was plenty of undisturbed 
time for their vast and scattered operations of resale of their 
lands, and this the Convention secured to them as far as 
possible by changing the meeting of the Legislature from 
the old time, the first Monday in November, to the second 
Tuesday in January, for which change no reason can be im- 
agined except to give the Yazooists more than two full ad- 
ditional months to work off their lands before they could be 
overtaken and cut down by the dreaded rescinding vengeance 
of another and purer Legislature. Thus much as to what 
the Convention did. Still more strikingly sinister was the 
character of what it refused to do. To it as the most com- 
petent and all-potent Body known to our political system as 
well as the earliest in point of time to which an appeal 
could be made, the people had made their loud appeals. 
Thither they had sent up their complaints and petitions, 
their protests and fulminations against the sale, accompanied 
by abundant proofs of the now discovered corrupt means by 


which it was procured, justly regarding the Convention as 
clothed with transcendent powers which it was bound to 
exercise on such an occasion. But these supreme servants 
of the people literally snubbed their masters, taking no fur- 
ther notice of their views, wishes and demands than to bundle 
them up and devolve them in a mass on the ensuing Legis- 
lature* which they immediately proceeded, as we have just 
seen, to put off two months longer with no other object than 
to put this stupendous villainy as much as possible beyond 
the reach of its arm. But not only did the Convention thus 
refused to act against the Yazoo crime, it refused even to 
speak against it. Not the slightest whisper of denunciation 
or disapproval came from its lips ; not the slightest opinion 
was breathed against it or the manner of its procurement. 
So the Yazooists were more than satisfied, having gotten the 
utmost they wanted, a friendly inactivity and silence, a 
kind refusal to do or say aught against them, and also a 
lengthened period of time for working out their programme 
of disposing of their lands at enriching prices. 

Having thus extended to the Yazooists all the aid it could 
give, indeed, all they needed, and refused to say or do aught 
to their prejudice, the measure of the Convention's shame 
was full enough, even though it had not been guilty of the 
further shameless misdoing, of leaving almost untouched the 
real business for which it had been created, and coolly de- 
volving the same on another Convention, which, for that 
purpose it ordered to be elected in 1*797. But perhaps we 
ought to be rather thankful for this delinquency of the Con- 
vention and the mode it adopted of making amends there- 
for: Since to this cause we owe a better work than could 
have been gotten at its hands, namely, the glorious old Con- 
stitution of 1*798. the time-honored mental product of the 
illustrious Jackson and his anti- Yazoo compatriots, under 
which Georgia long grew and prospered, still clinging to it 
with increasing reverence for nearly seventy years until 
finally in these evil latter days it was, to her eternal sorrow, 

Bentan'tJlb., Vol 3,^.325. 


overthrown and thrust aside by a conquering despotism and 
unreasoning bayonets. 

When the great disappointment occasioned by the above 
told gross infidelity of the Convention came upon the people, 
when they saw what a scurvy, pernicious trick had been 
played off on them from that high quarter and perceived 
themselves cheated, wronged, betrayed at every turn, first 
by their Legislature and then by their Convention, then it 
was that their fierce indignation rose to its acme. Then it 
was that enraged and bewildered, they felt intensely the 
need of somebody on whom they could repose a true and 
boundless trust, on whom they could fully rely to lead and 
contrive for them, to conquer and crush in their behalf in 
this matter. Then it was that they called upon their most 
idolized man, Gen. James Jackson, to leave his proud seat 
among the Conscript Fathers of the Union, the constitution- 
al counsellors of Washington, and to come at once to their 
help and headship. Then it was that with a sublime alacrity 
and devotion, he instantly responded to a call which his own 
fiery sentiments and denunciations had largely inspired. 
Without a moment's hesitation he resigned his Senatorship 
and dismounting, as it were, from the equestrian rank, trode 
the ground once more, a private soldier, merging himself 
with the people as one of themselves and literally fighting 
on foot in their midst from May to November, to which time 
the election had been changed by the recent Convention. 
Behold him there covered with dust, assailed by hatred, the 
target of the enemy's deadliest aims throughout the long 
canvass. Behold him, "leading, contriving for the people," 
toiling with tongue and pen, with mind and body, facing 
and defying every danger, devoting himself in every way, 
sparing himself in none: A spectacle, how replete with all 
that can be conceived of the sublime and beautiful in politi- 
cal conduct ! His work was done fearlessly and thoroughly. 
His spirit pervaded all Georgia and entered like a higher 
life the souls of her people. The enemy strived at first to 
make some show of a stand against him and his brave yeo- 


manry, but in vain. In all parts of the State the victory 
was complete and resulted in returning him arid his 
friends and supporters to the Legislature hy an overwhelm- 
ing majority in both branches. 

Of course, in that Legislature he was the master spirit 
the dictator and controller. ' But not much 'of study or effort 
was needed from him there. Execution alone was the watch- 
word and .work. "What had to be done was already prefixed 
and pronounced by the people at the polls, rendering the 
duty and action of their Representatives as plain, simple 
and unobstructed as it was grand, imposing and important. 
That duty was to repeal the Yazoo Act, to annul and rescind 
the Yazoo Sale as unconstitutional, fraudulent and void, a 
huge treachery, a heinous conspiracy of the buyers and sellers 
against the people, the offspring of bribery and corruption. 
This duty upon full and convincing proofs laid before them, 
they unflinchingly performed. Whilst the State was thus as- 
asserting and enforcing her unaltered ownership of the vast 
territories of which it had been sought to despoil her, she by 
the same Act disavowed all claim to the vile purchase money 
that had been thrust into her Treasury and directed it to be 
restored to those from whom it came or to whom it might 
belong. Moreover, to give the greater emphasis to her 
sovreign fiat of condemnation and annulment, she ordered 
every vestige of the accursed transaction to be obliterated 
from her records and the huge, pretentious enrollment of the 
Act itself to be given to the fiarnes, consecrated although it 
was by accumulated high and solemn signatures and by the 
great Seal of Georgia pendant in massive wax. The high, 
unexampled, damnatory sentence was duly carried into exe- 
cution under the broad, bright sky, on the beautiful State 
House square, at Louisville, the new seat of Government, in 
the presence of the Governor and Legislature and a mighty 
assemblage of the people. And according to a tradition, 
which cannot de doubted, for it has descended to us uncon- 
tradicted in a continuous current from that period to the 
present day, a holy, religious eclat, significant of the Divine 


displeasure on the great iniquity, was shed over the scene by- 
drawing down the consuming fire from heaven with a sun- 
glass before that immense and imposing multitude of wit- 
nessing eyes. 


It was on the 13th of February, 1796, that this crushing 
blow was struck. After it a long pause ensued, during 
which the new Yazooists stood still grasping their scrip, 
awaiting an event which they soon began to foresee, and 
which, upon its happening, would at once put a more hope- 
ful face on their now ruined affairs. This event, alike fore- 
seen and wished for by them, was the same that the origi- 
nal speculators had so long deprecated and thwarted, 
namely, the cession by Georgia to the United States, of all 
her Western territory, including these very Yazoo lands : 
A cession which the present claimants very well knew 
would, whilst carrying the lands over to the Federal Gov- 
ernment, carry them at the same time cum onere, loaded 
with any and all claims to which they had previously be- 
come subject, their own, the Yazoo claims, among the rest. 
An immediate result consequently of the cession would be 
the thronging of the Yazoo claimants to the Federal capital, 
and their becoming suitors to the Federal Government for 
the settlement of their claims. 

But although such future cession to the United States un- 
doubtedly became a foregone conclusion in all minds quickly 
after Georgia's annulment of the Yazoo sale, yet more than 
two years elapsed before the first step towards it was taken, 
before any proposal or overture was made from either side. 
This delay arose from the fact that our Legislature in 1790, 
among other denunciations of the Yazoo sale, had pro- 
nounced it unconstitutional, wholly denying the competency 
of the Legislature under the then existing Constitution of 
the State to alienate her Indian domains. It was a clear 
corrollary from this Legislative pronouncement that no au- 
thority existed anywhere among us either to offer or enter- 


tain a proposition for such alienation. And not only was 
there no competent authority for the purpose then existing 
in the State, but none could be called into existence earlier 
than the year 1798 at which time the new Constitutional 
Convention ordered by that faithless one of May, 1795, was 
to be held : Until the holding of which, therefore, the 
State had no alternative but to remain silent and inactive on 
the whole subject of a cession. And Congress also, in de- 
ference to the aforesaid disclaimer of power by our Legisla- 
ture, observed a like silence and inaction, and refrained from 
any suggestion of a cession until after the Convention had 
been chosen and was within less than a month of the time 
of its assemblage. Then it was that Congress spoke, and 
on the 7th of April, 1798, passed an Act empowering the 
President of the United States to appoint three Commission- 
ers, whose duty, among other things, it should be to receive 
from such commissioners as should be appointed on the part 
of Georgia any proposals for the relinquishrnent or cession 
of the whole or any part of the territory claimed by the 
State lying out of its ordinary jurisdiction. 

This act was undoubtedly passed in anticipation of the 
Convention's soon meeting, and in the confidence that that 
Body would receive it as an overture for a cession and honor 
it as such with a suitable response. Nor was this confidence 
disappointed. How was it possible it should have been ? 
For of that Convention the noble Jackson, although Gover- 
nor of the State at the time, was a member, master spirit 
there too as in the anti-Yazoo Legislature of 1796, sur- 
rounded now as he was then, by his most choice, enlight- 
ened and pure-minded compatriots. From such men no 
botched work could come when a great public duty was to be 
performed. And certainly nothing could be more thorough 
and perfect than what actually came from their hands in re- 
gard both to the Yazoo subject and the State's Western terri- 
tory. What they did was to erect an express constitutional 
barrier against the sale of the territory of the State or any part 
of it to individuals or private companies unless a county or 


counties should have first been laid off including such terri- 
tory, and the Indian rights thereto should have been first 
extinguished also. Anybody can see at a glance how com- 
pletely this prohibition goes to the bottom of things, exter- 
minating the very roots and all possibility in the future of 
such crimes and misdoings as the two Yazoo sales had been. 
It is not in this provision, however, although it was wise 
and statesman-like in the highest degree, that we find the 
response that was wanted to the above mentioned Congres- 
sional overture. That presents itself in another clause 
which enables the Legislature to sell or contract to the 
United States all or any part of the State's Western do- 
main lying beyond the Chattahoochee, and then again still 
further in that third clause which authorizes the Legisla- 
ture to give its consent to the establishment by the United 
States of one or more governments westward of that river. 
Behold here implanted in our long honored Constitution of 
1798, by the magnanimous men who then held sway in Geor- 
gia, the germ of the memorable cession of April, 1802, and 
of the two great States of Alabama and Mississippi. 

These provisions show that the sense of the Convention 
was in favor of a cession to the United States. The first 
Legislature under the new Constitution, being of like opin- 
ion, proceeded at once to take measures for carrying out the 
object. On the 6th of December, 1*799, it passed an Act 
appointing Commissioners to settle with those of the United 
States the terms of the cession ; to which Act the ensuing 
Legislature of 1800, made an amendment, adding to the list 
of Commissioners on the part of the State the name of Gen. 
Jackson, who was now filling a second gubernatorial term, 
but had just been chosen by the Legislature to the United 
States Senate as successor to Gen. Gunn, whose time was 
to expire on the 3d of March ensuing. 

The great business now proceeded at a quickened pace. 
Assuming it as certain that the ultimate and early event 
would be a vast territorial cession, embracing the Yazoo 
lands, Congress had already in May, 1800, amended the 


aforementioned Act of April, 1798, by imposing on the Na- 
tional Commissioners therein created, a heavy and tedious 
additional duty which would and could only arise after the 
cession had been made, the duty, namely, of investigating 
all claims against the lands ceded, of receiving from the 
claimants propositions for the compromise and settlement of 
their claims, and of laying a full statement of the whole, to- 
gether with their opinion thereon, before Congress for its 
decision thereon. Mr. Jefferson upon entering on the Presi- 
dency found the appointing of these Commissioners one of 
the first matters demanding his attention. His sense of the 
exceeding magnitude and importance of the duties to be de- 
volved on them is strongly attested by the men he selected. 
They were none other than three of the members of his Cab- 
inet Mr. Madison, his Secretary of State, Mr. Gallatin, his 
Secretary of the Treasury, and Mr. Lincoln, his Attorney 
General. A grander and more imposing set of Commission- 
ers for any object or purpose whatever was never anywhere 
constituted, whether we regard the illustrious character and 
ability of the men or their ripe, thorough statesmanship 
and public experience, or the splendor and importance of 
the offices they were then actually holding near the Presi- 
dent. Their very appointment shows that Mr. Jefferson 
contemplated that in performing their trust as Commission- 
ers they were to be all the while acting under the responsi- 
bility that attached to them as components of his Adminis- 

Fully worthy of association and conference with such men 
were the Commissioners on the part of Georgia, Jackson, 
Baldwin, and Milledge, whose functions, however, were 
to be more simple and of shorter continuance, confined to 
the single business of negotiating and signing the cession 
expected to be made by the State a work which was com- 
pleted on the 24th day of April, 1802, whereby Georgia con- 
veyed to the United States all the territory stretching from 
her present Western boundary to the Mississippi river, and 
lying between the 31st and the 35th parallels of Latitude. 


In consideration of which the United States agreed to pay 
Georgia a million and a quarter of dollars, and to be at the 
expense of extinguishing for her the Indian occupancy on 
all the territory still retained by the State. 

Long before the great bargain was brought to a close, the 
Yazoo claimants were astir wherever any of them were to be 
found in America or Europe. Either in person or by their 
agents or proxies, they were soon seen swarming around the 
United States Commissioners and overwhelming them with 
formal notices of their claims, warning them that if the Na- 
tional Government bought these lands from Georgia, it 
would have to buy them at its peril, subject to be supplanted 
and ousted by the older and better title which they asserted 
they already held from Georgia, the deeds and evidences of 
which they paraded before and deposited with the Commis- 
sioners, into the details of whose labors, at once immense 
and minute, there is no call upon us to enter in this tract. 
All that we need here is the general result at which they ar- 
rived and which, along with their opinion, they reported to 
Congress on the 16th of February, 1803, with full state- 
ments and accompanying documents, all which may be 
found spreading over many pages of the State Papers.* In 
their report the Commissioners mention the notorious fact, 
confirmed by the title papers the claimants had lodged with 
them, that the lands had all passed out of the original 
grantees and were now vested in second holders. These 
secondary holders said that they had bought them without 
knowledge or notice of the fraud, bribery and corruption 
that had contaminated the original purchase and, therefore, 
they claimed immunity for their title from these grounds of 
attack. The Commissioners, nevertheless, set forth fully 
all the criminating evidence which had come to their hands, 
being the same that was before the Rescinding Legislature, 
and in the. body of their report is stated the very significant 
fact, "that all the deeds given by the Companies, which had 
been exhibited to the Commissioners, as well as all the sub- 

dmerican State Papers, Public Lands, Vol. /, pages 132, 150. 


sequent deeds, with only two or three exceptions, not only 
give a special instead of a general warranty, but have also a 
special covenant in the following words : 'And lastly, it is 
covenanted and expressly agreed and understood by and 
between the parties to these presents, that neither the grant- 
ors aforesaid, nor their heirs, executors or administrators, 
shall be held to any further or other warranty than is here- 
in before expressed, nor liable to the refunding any money 
in consequence of any defect in their title from the State of 
Georgia, if any such there should hereafter appear to be.' " 
Such a phenomenon as this on the very face of their deeds 
would have been enough in law to charge the claimants 
with the damning notice they denied, even in the absence of 
all the other convincing proofs against thorn that existed. 
Upon this fact, then, and all the other facts and circum- 
stances which came to their knowledge, the Commissioners 
were forced to the conclusion that the title of the claimants 
could not be supported. 

But they proceeded, nevertheless, to express their belief 
that "the interest of the United States, the tranquility of 
those who may hereafter inhabit that territory, and various 
equitable considerations which may be urged in favor of 
most of the present claimants, render it expedient to enter 
into a compromise on reasonable terms ;" and they thereupon 
proceed to submit to the consideration of Congress two 
plans of compromise, one proposing compensation to the 
claimants in land, 'the other in money and in case the 
moneyed plan should be adopted, then that the claimants 
should be paid $2,500,000 in certificates of the Government, 
drawing interest, or $5,000,000 in non-interest bearing cer- 
tificates, payable out of the proceeds of the sale of the 

There is a very deep significance in this recommendation 
of a compromise by the commissioners. It amounts to their 
saying that, "although the claimants have no title and the 
Government is under no obligation, legal or equitable, to 
pay them a cent, yet as they will have a vast and intermi- 


nable right and faculty of litigation, annoyance and vexa- 
tion against the future settlers on these lands under titles 
to he derived from the Government, which, among other 
huge evils, will have the effect of greatly retarding the sale, 
settlement and improvement of the lands, that, therefore, 
it would be both for the interest of the Government and the 
interest and tranquility of the future settlers, to extinguish 
these claims noic even at the cost of five millions of dollars, 
rather than leave all these innumerable acres thus liable to 
permanent controversy and litigation, and every settler on 
them thus exposed to law suits, against which the Govern- 
ment would be bound to be at all the. trouble and expense of 
defending him and of making him in the end a full remuner- 
ation and indemnity, in case he should chance unexpectedly 
lose the land he had bought from the Government. 

Such was the view the Commissioners took of this matter, 
now can the practical sense and wisdom of it be gainsaid. 

Yet it prevailed not with Congress. For seven long years 
from 1803 to 1810, the claimants persisted to little purpose 
in beseiging and battering that body, which seemed, indeed, 
rather to harden than to give way tinder their ceaseless im- 
portunity. The terrible Napoleanic wars were all this while 
raging over Europe, threatening, striving, as it were, to 
draw our country, too, within their fearful vortex, out of 
which to keep her was Mr. Jefferson's great study, using to 
that end all upright and honorable means, even to such 
harsh and exhausting measures as the Embargo, the Re- 
striction and the Non-Intercourse ; in spite of all of which 
the dreaded engulfment came at last, under Mr. Madison's 
administration. Yet little recking of the country's trou- 
bles or of the mighty and distressful turmoil of the times, 
the Yazooists haunted Congress every session with their ill- 
odored, unrelenting claims, backed by the ablest and most 
influential lobby that had up to that time ever invested 
Congress ; sustained at the same time by a powerful North- 
era avlvocacy on the floor. But all would not do. The pe- 
riod Lad not yet come when the people's Representatives 


could be gotten to throw a propitiating sop of millions 
drawn from the sweat of their brow, in order to buy off a 
vile claim pronounced to be at once the offspring of crime, 
fraud and corruption, and to be devoid also of all legal 
quality and character, by which it could demand and coerce 

If at this remote day any wonder should be felt that 
the recommendation of a compromise by a Commission 
composed of such great men and high functionaries as Madi- 
son, Gallatin, and Lincoln, should have been so unavailing 
with the House, where the Bill for the proposed appropria- 
tion had to originate, let it be recalled how lofty and un- 
bending the temper of that House was in those days in 
maintaining its independence of thought and action, especi- 
ally on questions of taking money out of the Treasury, that is 
to say, out of the people's pockets ; secondly, how fiercely 
public and Congressional rage then burned against the mon- 
strous Yazoo crime; and lastly, that that prodigy of parlia- 
mentary oratory and debating talent, John Randolph, was 
there from the outset to the end in all the pride of 
young manhood, yet ripe genius and stored, cultivated 
mind, lashing the House up all the while to its indignant 
duty with his versatile, unsparing, exhaustless powers of 
eloquence and argument, persuasion and investive. 

Weary of long waiting and continued disappointment, to 
which they saw no end on their present tack, the Yazooists 
determined at last on a new departure on demonstrating to 
Congress in a manner, at once practical and astounding, that 
their title was one capable of being supported in law, the 
opinion of the three Cabinet Commissioners and of the ma- 
jority of the House to the contrary notwithstanding, and 
that their claims, in the event of being thrust out of the 
National Legislature, were sure of finding a favorable recep- 
tion in the sanctuary of the National Courts. The pro- 
ceedure instituted and prosecuted to a close with a view to 
this demonstration long stood out to view as the most erratic 
and lawless judicial phenomenon ever known iu our history. 


It was eminently an unprincipled and audacious thing, and 
nothing but that sort of triumphal palliation which success 
too often imparts to crime in this world could ever have 
prevented it from being regarded by everybody as also a 
mad and disgraceful thing. 

The plan was to get up and carry through all the wind- 
ings and forms of high litigation a feigned case, so contrived 
as to draw out from the Supreme Court of the United States, 
if entertained there, a solemn, though volunteer, gratuitous 
pronouncement ex cathedra in favor of the claimants on all 
the points they deemed necessary or advantageous to their 
title. It was the celebrated case of Fletcher against Peck, 
reported at great length in the 6th volume of Cranch. No 
professional man acquainted with the story of the Yazoo 
Fraud can possibly read that case without seeing in it the 
unmistakable brands and marks of a feigned case, even 
though one of the Judges, Johnson, had not weakly called 
attention to the flagrant fact* I say weakly, because he 
nevertheless, was not prevented by the fact, from entertain- 
ing the case and pronouncing an opinion thereon in favor of 
the Yazooists. To lawyers it would be neither necessary nor 
complimentary to enter here into the long and intricate de- 
tails of the case with its artistically concocted pleadings and 
laboriously constructed special verdict ; for they are to be 

Mr. Justice Johnson, in delivering his opinion, made the following remarks 
at the close : "I have been very unwilling to proceed to the decision of this 
case at all It appears to bear strong evidence upon the face of it of being a 
mere feigned case. It is our duty to decide on the rights but not on the specu- 
lation of parties. My confidence, however, in the respectable gentlemen,t 
who have been engaged for the parties, have induced me to abandon my 
scruples, in the belief that they would never consent to impose a mere feigned 
case upon this Court. Crunch 1 s Rep., 6th Vol., p. 147-8. 

| And yet Robert Goodloe Harper was one of those gentlemen, whose name, as 
one of the large, original Yazoo partners, was in thousands of Congressional 
documents with which the country was then flooded. Thirty years ago, in a 
book store in Washington. I picked up a bound second hand copy of oue of 
them, which I now have, printed by order of Congress in 1809. 


supposed acquainted with them already. To the laity such 
a recital would certainly be alike irksome and unprofitable. 
Suffice it, then, to say that the Circuit Court of Massachu- 
setts in which the feigned suit was started, gratified fully the 
wishes of the claimants, deciding every point as they desired, 
and perfectly validating their title from beginning to end. 
Nevertheless, they carried the case up to the Supreme Court 
at Washington, in order that it might be there affirmed 
and clinched forever. And it was securely clinched by that 
tribunal. With the exception of poor Johnson, all the 
Court, from a regard to decency and appearances, made 
itself voluntarily blind to the staring fact that it wan a 
feigned case, and consequently one which it was highly dis- 
creditable and criminal for the Court to entertain and 
decide at all. Moreover, the whole Court persistently shut 
its eyes to the grand, vital principles on which Washington 
had so decidedly combated and nullified the first Yazoo 
Sale, that of 1*789, and on which he had equally come forth 
denouncing and ready, if need there should be, to combat 
and nullify likewise this second Yazoo Sale of 1*795, when- 
ever it should put forth its head so as to be within reach of 
the National arm. Overlooking all these vast and weighty 
considerations, so important with the Father of his Country, 
the Court studiously narrowed its view to the points to 
which the Yazooists for their own purposes chose to solicit 
its attention. The result was a judgment delivered at the 
February term, 1810, going the full length for the title of 
the Yazoo claimants, pronouncing it just as good as if the 
Rescinding Act of Georgia had never been passed, invulner- 
able, indeed, by tiny act of the State either singly or in 
combination with the United States, and consequently better 
than the younger title the State had conveyed to the 
United States by the cession of April, 1802. In fine, it 
was a judgment which fully verified and reduced to an 
absolute certainty all the little credited vaticinations, the 
possibility of which turning out true had led the Commis- 
sioners to recommend the five million compromise as a 


thing for the interest of the United States and the interest 
and tranquility of the future settlers on the contested terri- 

And now Congress, seeing itself in vinculis, and very 
much at the tnercy of the claimants in regard to 
all the Yazoo lands, upon well revolving the matter thought 
it best to come to terms with them, and finally, after a moody 
interval of some four years, passed the Act of 31st of March, 
1814, appropriating the sum of five million of dollars to he 
raised by sales of the lands, to the perpetual quieting and 
extinguishment all the Yazoo Claims, which being agreed 
at once to be accepted by the claimants, there was an end at 
last of a matter which I have essayed to trace Irom its origin 
and through all its vicissitudes, and which with a better 
handling than I have been capable of giving it, would be 
found forming a chapter in the history of Georgia and of the 
United States interesting and important, as well as multi- 
farious, complicated and long. 



On page 34, 16 line from top, read post instead ot peat. 
On page 36, 5th line from bottom, read fury instead of fray 





As when the laborious husbandman whose daily bread is 
sweetened by the sweat of his brow and by the holy sense 
of providing by his toil for his wife and children, has been all 
the week long, with measured stride and stalwart arms, swing- 
ing the scythed cradle here and there over his field wherever 
the nodding harvest looked ripest and most tempting; wearied 
atlength he pauses from his task at the near approach of the 
sacred day of rest, surveys his work, eyes gratefully his 
thick-standing sheaves, and taking note of what there still is 
for his industrious hands to do, beholds, well pleased, the 
rich, retiring nooks and deep, fertile hollows that yet await 
his blade : so do I, having in an irregular, desultory man- 
ner, treated of the development, fortunes and affairs of Geor- 
gia during a considerable lapse of time next after the Revo- 
lutionary war, now looking back perceive in the period I have 
thus traversed not a few things which although interesting 
and well worthy of notice, have as yet remained untouched 
by my roving pen. 

And first of Gen. Jackson himself it is meet and would 
be both grateful and rewarding that something further 
should be said and told, even though it carry us back be- 
yond the Revolutionary era. For it is attended alike with 
pleasure and profit to follow and observe such a man 
from his early beginnings and through all his vicissitudes. 
What we have already had occasion to see and know about 
him naturally excites curiosity to know more, and we would 


fain get a full view of one so marked and superior, so much 
above the world's ordinary standard and requirements, so 
much a pride and honor to our common nature ; one whom 
suchajudgeas Thos. Spalding, himself assuredly a mostnohle 
man and who enjoyed the amplest opportunities, in his long 
and honorable life, of knowing men of distinction in Eu- 
rope and America, advisedly pronounced, forty odd years 
after his death, "the noblest man with whom it had been 
his lot to be*acquainted."* 

He landed on our shores from his native England in 1772: 
a lone lad of fifteen years. Of virtuous and respectable pa- 
rentage, breeding and connexions, we cannot but suppose 
that he had at that immature age already strongly evinced 
safe and superior qualities of mind and character and given 
evidences of high future promise ; otherwise his father 
would hardly have consented, nor would such a man as Mr. 
Wereat, a name of great note and respect in our Colonial 
and Revolutionary annals and at one time Acting Governor 
of the State, have advised him to consent to his son's com- 
ing to America under his Mr. Wereat' s, auspices, to make 
his own way and build up his fortunes in this remote and 
then wild part of the earth. We are told that his father 

* Bench and Bar of Georgia vol 2, page 102. Titic, John Houston. See 
there a letter from Mr. Spalding to Maj. Miller, of the IWch October, 1850, 
from which the following is an extract : 

"It gives me pleasure to state that Gen. James Jackson, the noblest man 
with whom it has bean my lor to be acquainted, when. I called upon him as 
Governor to give me a letter to Mr. King, our then Minister in London, kept 
me to dine with him ; and asked me what were Mr. Gibbons' receipts from his 
profession." I replied, "Three thousand pounds per annual." "My own were 
about that amount when I unwisely left my profession foi politics. Mr. Gib- 
bons, as a whole, was the greatest lawyer in Georgia." Let me say to you that 
Gen. Jackson and Mr. Gibbons had exchanged three shots at nach other. They 
were considered the bitterest enemies by the public. A high minded man 
knows no enmity." 

I had intended to add here a few words of my own about Mr. Spalding.whom 
I knew, revered and held in the highest honor. But on turning to the notice 
of him in White's Hirtorical Sketches of Georgia, I prefer it to any thing I 
can write. It will be found in full as a note at the end of thii chapter. 


was a etrenous lover of freedom and free Government and 
of the rights of the people as against arbitrary power,- and 
particularly that he was a warm sympathiser with the Colo- 
nies in their as yet bloodless quarrel with the mother coun- 
try for their rights and liberties. These principles and sen- 
timents young Jackson had deeply imbibed before quitting 
the paternal roof and indeed they largely influenced his em- 
igration and casting his lot here. Accordingly, it was not 
long after reaching his new home in Georgia, before they 
shone out in his warm participation in the feelings and pro- 
ceedings which were even then beginning to herald the ap- 
proaching Revolution. 

The very pursuit to which his father and Mr. Wereat had 
destined him in Georgia is proof of their high opinion of 
his capacity and endowments. For although so young, he 
was, upon his arrival in Savannah, at once put to the study 
of law in the office of Samuel Farley, Esq., applying him- 
self at the same time to such other studies as were necessary 
to the completion of his general education. With what en- 
thusiasm, industry and success he applied himself, some 
idea may be formed from the fact handed down from his 
own lips by Mr. Spalding, that after the Revolutionary 
war and before embarking in politics, he practiced law so 
prosperously that his professional earnings at their acme 
reached to the sum of 3,000 per annum a prodigious 
amount when we consider the small population and the still 
smaller wealth, commerce and resources of Georgia in those 

Before, however, finishing his studies and coming to the 
Bar, and whilst yet a mere stripling, he, like that other 
glorious young genius of the day-spring of the Revolution, 
Alexander Hamilton, betwixt whom and himself there are 
not wanting strong points of resemblance, obeyed the im- 
pulse of courage, ambition, patriotism and a passionate love 
of liberty and hastened to exchange his books and seclusion 
for arms and the din of war. 

It comports not with my plan to enter into the minute 


details of the young soldier's Revolutionary career, and 
indeed nothing could be more unnecessary. For are they 
not to be found written in every book of the chronicles of 
Georgia? where, among the many things in relation to 
him, it is recorded that his first feat of arms (a very daring 
and purely volunteer affair of himself and a little band of 
otherpatriots, resulting in their burningseveral of the enemy's 
armed vessels which had grounded in proceeding up the river 
against the city) won for him much applause and a lieuten- 
ancy. Soon a captaincy rewarded his rapidly developing 
martial merits And so he continued to rise, never failing 
to justify his promotions by his performances until at 
length we see him before the end of the war by Gen. 
Green's appointment and the confirmation of Congress, the 
commander, in his 24th year, of a mixed Legion of cavalry 
and infantry. On every occasion and in every position 
throughout the long, harsh struggle, he added to his steadily 
growing reputation. Victory brought him laurels which, so 
fine was ever his. conduct, no adversities or reverses that 
befel him could take away or dim. For alike in distress and 
in good fortune he exhibited fertile and brilliant capacity, 
an unflinching devotion to duty, indefatigable activity and 
a heroism not to be cowed by wounds, perils, fatigues ; nor 
by hunger, thirst and nakedness, nor all the other nameless 
discouragements and sufferings of ill-provided war and cam- 
paigning in the woods and swamps of lower Georgia and 
Carolina against an enemy entrenched and under cover in 
Augusta, Savannah and Charleston, and continually sally- 
ing out from these strongholds as assailants, pursuers, ma- 
rauders, devastators and then rushing back again to their 
shelter when routed or endangered or wearied out or sated 
with spoliation. Such an impression did his extraordinary 
merits and services in the closing scenes of the war in Geor- 
gia make on his General, that renowned soldier and com- 
mander, Anthony Wayne, that on the occasion of the final 
surrender of Savannah by the British to our arms in July, 
1782, he honored him by ordering that the formal surrender 


should be made into his hands. And accordingly it was so 
done by the keys of the city being delivered up to him by 
the evacuating British commander in presence of both armies. 
One of those remarkable incidents which, by reason of be- 
falling men of celebrity, often become canonized in history, 
is related to have occurred during the gloomiest period of 
the Revolution to him and his young friend, John Milledge, 
the same who afterwards became a Representative and then 
a Senator in Congress, and Governor also of the State in 
honor of whom likewise Milledgeville was named, destined 
as the permanent capital of the State a destiny, however, 
not permitted to stand, but to the mortal shame of Georgia 
set aside now by her submission thus far to an ephemeral 
satrap's wanton, dishonoring edict. During the utter pros- 
tration of our cause in lower Georgia, consequent on the fall 
I of Savannah, in 1778, these undaunted youthfnl patriots 
repaired together to South Carolina to seek service. Whilst 
on their way to join Gen. Moultrie's standard "barefoot and 
in rags, these sons of liberty," we are told, "were appre- 
hended as spies by some American soldiers and condemned 
to be hung. The gallows was actually prepared, and but 
for the timely arrival of Maj. Devaux, who accidentally 
heard of the transaction, the two young patriots would have 
been executed."* Behold here in our own annals an 
authentic fact which taken in connection with the subsequent 
eminence and illustriousnes.s of both the men, surpasses any 
thing in history, nay, even excels that famous antique fiction 
of Belisarius, old and blind, begging a penny, f victim, 
of Justinian's imperial ingratitude and cruelty after a life- 
time of the hardships and dangers of war in his service, and 
an hundred victories won for him and declining Rome. 

The long revolutionary struggle being at last ended and 
the occupation of arms at an end with it, peace found Col. 
Jackson standing amidst the ruins of the recent war like 

* White's Statistics of Georgia, page 337. National Portrait Gallery. Title 
James Jackson. 

t "Da Belisario obolum."' 


thousands of his brother officers and soldiers in utter pov- 
erty houseless, penniless, without means or employment 
with no resources but such as existed in his own mind and 
character, and in the boundless love and admiration of his 
fellow-citizens, a love and admiration heightened by a sense 
of gratitude for his services all which was well attested 
by legislative resolutions of thanks and honof, and the gift 
to him by the State of a house and home in the city of 

But by nothing could he be paralysed or rendered a 
cypher. It was a necessity of his nature and character that 
he should cherish and pursue high aims under all circum- 
stances, adverse or prosperous, of peace or of war. He 
went instantly to work in the arduous, aspiring profession 
to which he had been early dedicated. As we have already 
seen, he had stored and trained his mind by juridical and 
miscellaneous studies before the Revolution, and during 
it not in arras alone was he developed and exercis- 
ed. Led by duty and martial ardor to harrangue his com- 
mands on many a trying occasion, he found out and culti- 
vated that rare talent of ready, effective, stirring eloquence 
with which nature, study, self-discipline and practice com- 
bined gradually to endow him in a distinguished manner. 
This bright, crowning talent coming in aid of his general 
mass of ability and knowledge, and of his great energy, 
uprightness, industry and enthusiasm, he rose rapidly at 
the Bar and won the triumphant success there to which 
allusion has been made. So striking was his success and 
such the impression he made of possessing qualifications 
equal to any, the highest, spheres of public service, that his 
fellow-citizens soon looked forward with pride to his future 
career and foresaw the honors of the patriot statesman clus- 
tering on his brow along with those, already won, of the 
forum and the field. It was at this stage, in 1788, that the 
office of Governor was tendered him, but which his modesty 
declined, on the ground of the want of age and political expe- 
rience. For though his ambition was high and mettlesome, 


yet it was far from being prurient and self-blinding, and 
did not lead him to think that what service he had seen in 
our Legislature, and which was all the political apprentice- 
ship he had then had, was sufficient to fit one so young for 
the chief magistracy of the State. 

There was, however, another great and interesting politi- 
cal theatre just opening at that time, better suited to his 
years, his genius, and his training and for which he felt a 
predilection that may have had some subtle influence, for 
aught we know, in disinclining him to the Governorship. 
For the new Federal Constitution had been now adopted, and 
in apportioning the representation of the States in Congress, 
there had been given to Georgia three members in the Lower 
Ilnuse, and the Legislature at its first meeting afterwards 
had divided the State into three Congressional Districts for 
the election of those members. Gen. Jackson became a can- 
didate and a successful one in the First or Eastern District, 
composed of the counties of Chatham, Liberty, Effingham, 
Glynn and Camden. In the Second or Middle District, 
Abraham Baldwin was chosen, and in the Third or Western, 
George Mathews. All over the United States, likewise, the 
people rallied in their respective States to make choice of 
their Representatives in this their First Congress under the 
new Federal system, and the Legislatures of the several 
States proceeded also to elect their first National Senators. 
Slowly and not without a seeming of backwardness and dif- 
fidence did the great historic body get together and go about 
its mighty task of building up from the very bottom, on a plan 
prefixed and wholly novel, a vast and complex Republican 
Empire. On the appointed day of meeting, the 4th of 
March, 178U, only eight Senators and thirteen Representa- 
tives were in attendance. Gradually other members came, 
but so scatteringly that it was as late as the first of April 
before a quorum appeared in the Lower House, and five days 
later still before there was one in the Senate, nor was it 
until the 30th of the month that Washington was installed 
und the new Government ready to go to work. 


In the illustrious assemblage of tried, picked men with 
whom Gen. Jackson now saw himself associated in the 
National service, there was not a younger politician to be 
found than himself. So he himself tells us in 'one of his 
speeches. * And yet those who will follow him, as I have 
done, through the volumes containing the debates of that 
memorable, three-sessioned Congress, will perceive that he 
carried with him into that body not only the exalted manly 
fervor and public-spirit appropriate to bis age, temperament 
and patriotic character, but also such thorough and various 
preparation of mind and knowledge, such accurate acquain- 
tance with the subjects that had to be discussed, and such 
sense, talent and readiness in discussing them, in fine, such 
a judicious activity and such sound, enlightened views, as 
would have done honor to gray hairs and veteran statesman- 
ship and soon secured to him rank and consideration 
among his fellow members. Keeping attention closely upon 
him throughout this, his two-years' Congressional novitiate, 
we at times cannot help feeling wonder, as in the very 
parallel case of Alexander Hamilton, tli at under all the 
actual circumstances of his whole preceding life he should 
have been able to make himself what he was in mental 
culture and discipline, and to have amassed such intellectual 
stores, especially of the political kind, as he showed himself 
to possess. Nothing but a very superior constitution of mind 
and nature combined with high ambition and indefatigable 
energy, industry and application can explain the rare and 
interesting phenomenon. 

But whilst he was thus devoting himself to his country's 
service and acquiring a proud name in Congress, intelli- 
gence reached him there towards the end of his term, of an 
event at home for which he was unprepared and which was 
well calculated to sting him to the quick and rouse all the 
lion in his nature. The 3d of January, 17'Jt, was the time of 
the election for the next Representative term. Though 

* Gales' Debates of the First Congress, vol. 1, page 1,266. 
Benton's Abr. Debates, vol. 1, page SIR. 


standing again as a candidate, yet with a noble conscien- 
tiousness and full of trust in his strength with the people, 
he stirred not from his distant post of duty, but faithfully 
remained there leaving his election to the care of his con- 
stituents. That care happened not to be adequate to the 
needs of the case. It did not prevent frauds and lawless 
irregularities, the result of which was that he was superseded, 
and Gen. Anthony Wayne, now become a citizen of Georgia, 
the famed hero of Stony Point, the recoverer of Savannah 
and Lower Georgia from the British, the winner also of 
countless laurels at Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, 
and on other hard fought fields of the Revolution, was re- 
turned in his stead. 

Perfectly characteristic was Gen. Jackson's dealing with 
the criminalities of this election, and particularly with the 
two most conspicuous criminals. His investigations, his 
denunciations and his vengeance were prompt and severe. 
The most outrageous villainy was that enacted in Camden 
county by Osborne, Judge of the Superior Court, who, after 
the close of the regular election in the day-time, not satis- 
fied with the result, got possession of the legal returns and 
substituted therefor during the night the forged returns of 
a sham election. Short breathing time had he to exult over 
the success of this foul perpetration. The very next Legis- 
lature saw him arraigned for the crime, impeached by the 
House of Representatives, dragged before the Senate, tried, 
convicted and expelled from office, the only precedent of 
the kind in any case higher than that of a Land Lottery 
Commissioner that has ever occurred in the State. The 
other worst iniquity was practiced in Effingham county. It 
consisted of illegal management of the election and some 
illegal voting besides, under the inimical counsel and influ- 
ence of Thomas Gibbons, a man of very strong, determined 
character and great courage and ability, and much noted 
throughout a long and prosperous after-life, though never 
engaged in any but private and professional pursuits. He 
quitted Savannah, where he lived, and repaired to Effing- 


ham for the purpose of working therein the election against 
Gen. Jackson. It was the terrible denunciations which the 
part he thus acted brought down upon him from Gen. Jack- 
son in his speech before the House of Representatives contest- 
ing the election, that, doubtless, led to the duel and 'the three 
shots' between them of which Mr. Spaldiug makes mention.* 

* For a report of all The facts touching this election and of Gen. Jackson's 
speech, see Clarke's Book of Congressional Contested elections p. p. 47-^8 
Among the curious things contained in this report is the number of voters 
in each county. According to the statement furnished to the Committee on Elec - 
tionsby Gen Jackson, the poll, 'if all the returns had V>oen received and had been 
proper'. would have been just f>51 votes in the whole district. Chatham county 2.">9 
Liberty 69. Effingham 107, Glynn 27, Camden 89. At that time there were in 
the whole State but eleven counties, and according to the census of 1790, the 
population wag as follows : 

Freee Whites. Slave* Total. 

Camden 234 70 3"4 

Glynn 193 21.'v 4uS 

Liberty 1,303 4,023 5.328 

Chatham '2,456 .2U1 10,667 

Effingham 1,674 750 2.424 

Richmond 7,162 4,116 11,278 

Burke 7,l>64 2392 

Washington 3,856 ti'.M 4,5.'>0 

Wilkes 24,05'i V.2HS 31,320 

Franklin 885 156 1.041 

Greene 4,020 1.377 b,W~ 

53,797 20.164 82,163 

Columbia county was created out of Richmond by an Act of 10th of Decem- 
ber, 1790, but was not organized when the census was taken. Wilkes had then 
undergone no subdivision, but still retained all her vast pre-revolutionary ter- 
ritory which accounts for the numerousness of her population. 

Mr. Gibbons, in his advanced years, following a fashion formerly not un- 
common among Savannah families rich enough to afford it, had a Northern 
summer residence which was at Elizabethtown. in New Jersey. This circum- 
stance led to a very noted, if not the most noted, thing in his life a thing 
which caused his name to become notorious and familiar all over the United 
States both in conversation and in print. Disbelieving in the constitutionality 
of the law of New York conferring on a chartered company and its assignees 
the exclusive right of navigating the waters of that State by steam vessels, he 
commenced running in 1818 a line oi steamboats of his own between Eli/.a- 
bethtown Point and New York City in violation of the exclusive chartered 
right. As was foreseen, Ogden, the company's assignee for that route, resorted 
at once to law to stop Gibbons' boats. He filed a bill before Chancellor Kent 
for a present and perpetual injunction against Gibbons, which the Chancellor 
granted, 'holding the New York law constitutional. Gibbons carried the case 


The Congress to which Gen. Wayne was returned as- 
s.-mbled on the 24th of October, 1791. At the end of a 
week from that d&te we iind him in his seat as a member, 
where he hud been but a fortnight when he was disturbed by 
Gen. Jackson appearing and contesting his right to that 
seat. The contest lasted several months, Gen. Wayne re- 
maining in his seat and exercising (nil Representative func- 
tions all the while. The investigations were thorough ami 
brought out abundant proof that the General's election was 
illegal but none whatever implicating the General himself 
in any of the illegal means by which it had been effected. 
Nor was there ever any imputation against him personally 
in connection with the election. It was the not uncommon 
case of a candidate's partizaus without his participation or 

up to the highest tribunal in New York, the Court of Errors, where the deci- 
sion rendered against him in the Court of Chancery was sustained and affirmed. 
Whereupon an appeal was taken by him to the Supreme Court of the United StaN-., 
which upon full argument and consideration reversed the New York decision 
and pronounced the New York law unconstitutional, thereby throwing open all 
(lie waters oi the United States to free navigation by steam. The case, through- 
out its long pendency was regarded as one of immense public, political and 
commercial importance, and excited, consequently, a strong and unusual in- 
terest, and Mr. Gibbons himself, came to be everywhere viewed as the cham- 
pion of free trade between the States, and indeed somewhat in the light of a 
great public bent-factor by having taken upon himself the burden of this mag- 
nificent, costly and finally victorious litigation. In 1824, not long after Mr. 
Gibbons' triumph in the Supreme Court of the United States, I heard Judge 
Berrien say in conversing with some gentlemen about it, that Mr. Gibbons, 
whilst the case was yet pending, made his will and appropriated $40,000 to 
carrying on the suit in case it should not be ended before his death. Upon 
some one present expressing surprise, Judge Berrien remarked that Mr. Gibbons 
was a very able lawyer and felt great pride in having his opinion on the con- 
stitutional question sustained. Mr. Spalding, in his letter from which 1 have 
already quoted, mentions that he was a law student of Mr. Gibbons, and speaki 
of him as a great lawyer and a man of most determined character. Cornelius 
Vanderbilt, more familiarly known as Commodore Vanderbilt, now renowned 
among the men of New York, great by being rich, was one of Mr. Gibbons' 
steamboat captains, and was in the course of the litigation actually brought 
before Chancellor Kent once, charged with a contempt in disobeying the injunc- 
tion against Gibbons' boats. 

In the matter of Vanderbilt, 4 Johnson's Chan. R. 57. Ogden vs. Gibbons, 
Ib. 150. Gibboni vs. Ogden, 17 Johnson's R. 488. Gibbons vs. Ogden, 9- 
Wheaton's R. 1. 


privity doing wrong things and going criminal lengths for 
him from which he himself would have revolted. No final 
action was reached by the House till late in March when 
a decision was pronounced setting aside both the contestants, 
declaring a vacancy arid calling for a new election, at which 
Mr. Miltedge was chosen, neither Gen. Wayne or Gen. 
Jackson entering the lists as a candidate, and so both 
these very eminent and meritorious men were sent into re- 

But their exile was short and more than compensated by 
their being each soon called to a more exalted and import- 
ant sphere of public employment. Gen. Wayne, than 
whom no truer son of Mars ever intensified the splendor of the 
American arms, being solicited by Washington, almost im- 
mediately resumed the sword and went at once to that 
inveterate theatre of Indian hostilities and British tamper- 
ings on the Lake frontier where our armies had for years been 
so unlucky, and there in August, 1794, at the great battle 
of the Miami of the Lakes, the greatest and most memo- 
rable in all our annals of Indian warfare, repaired the dis- 
asters of Harmar and St. Clair and by a bloody arbitra- 
ment opened the way to that permanent Indian peace in 
the North- West which Washington was, as we have seen here- 
tofore,* successful, by peaceful, diplomatic means in bringing 
about in the South and South- West. This signal and price- 
less triumph of Wayne's generalship shone the more 
brilliantly under the dark contrast of the defeat of his pred- 
ecessors and it may be regarded, too, somewhat as a death- 
halo settling on his brow, as it was the last fighting exploit 
of a life that was not to last much longer. For he survived 
but two years more, dying in the service and at his post on 
the Indian frontier, Commander-in-Chief of the Army of 
the United States. So it is inscribed on the monument 
erected to him at his birthplace in Chester, Pennsylvania, 
by his brethren of the Society of the Cincinnati. 

And he died also still a citizen and a cherished adopted 

* In the article on the Oconee War, Part I. 


son of Georgia. For in passing from her service into that of 
the United States, he passed not from her embrace nor lost his 
domicil, at once trihute of gratitude and memorial of honor, 
on her soil. He thoroughly won her devotion when as 
second in command to Gen. Greene* in the South, he had 
wrought out the full deliverance of the State from the 
enemy towards the close of the Revolution. And in tact the 
successes of Greene and Wayne in the extreme South had 
nearly as much to do in bringing the war to a close as the- 
more impressive and celebrated triumph of Washington over 
Cornwallis in Virginia. As a consequence of these great 
Southern services, Wayne as well as Greene was remem- 
bered .by Georgia when peace came, and she acknowledged 
her heavy debt to him by bestowing on him a fine estate 
near Savannah on the soil he had rescued. And hence like 
Gen. Greene he was led to make Georgia his home. The 
precise time of his coming I have no means of fixing, but 
it was certainly later than the year 1787, for we find him 
in the last months of that year still a citizen of Pennsylva- 
nia, and serving as a delegate in her Convention called to 
ratify the new Federal Constitution. That he should have 
become Gen. Jackson's opponent for Congress was un- 
doubtedly a circumstance of a nature to inspire regret at the 
time of its occurrence, and for a long while afterwards. For 
it was just one of those contests in which our grief over the 
party that should be defeated was incapable of compensa- 
tion by any joy that we could feel at the success of his rival. 
That grief too was in this case not a little exasperated and 
tinctured with resentment on account of the reprehensible 
means by which success had been achieved. But here again 
we take comfort, for that General Wayne was personally 
untouched by the foul arts employed in his behalf and stands 
clear of reproach alike from the public and his own con- 
science and his wronged and irritated competitor. And now 
at this remote day looking back on the whole affair and see- 
ing how it proved eventually harmless alike to the two 

* See his speech on Mrs. Greene's Claims, I. Vol. Benton's Abr. 335-6. 


Generals and the country, it cannot be otherwise than that 
the present generation of the people of Georgia, filially av- 
aricious of every ray of honor that can be counted to her 
brow, must feel pride at such a spectacle in her history as 
Anthony Wayne attracted by her generous love and grati- 
tude to become one of her citizens, and as such suing for her 
suffrages as a candidate for Congress and actually serving 
her for nearly five months as a Representative in Congress, 
blameless himself in being there, however great the blame 
of others for the means used to put him there. 

He was born early in the year 1745, which made him old- 
er than Gen. Jackson by more than a dozen years. Like 
Jackson he was of good ancestry, of superior soldierly stock 
particularly, his grandfather having fought with reputation 
as the commander of a squadron under King William III 
at the Battle of the Boyne, in 1690, and his father having 
been distinguished as well in expeditions against the In- 
dians as in civil affairs in Pennsylvania in the Colonial 
times. And that he inherited the martial temper and 
bravery and the strong military bent of his race was mani- 
fest not only by all his actions and career, but is strik- 
ingly visible in his very looks and lineaments, heroic and 
spirited in the highest degree, as they have come down to 
us on canvass. His early advantages were of a high order 
and were so well improved that we may set him down as 
having had an education ample for the purposes of a life of 
activity and distinction either in peace or war. It is not 
surprising that these advantages aided by family and con- 
nexion, by superior endowments of mind and person, by 
the winning power of a promising, aspiring young manhood 
and by his noble ardor and forwardness from the very first 
in the cause of the uprising colonies, should have obtained 
for him at the beginning of the war a position which the 
youthful and orphan Jackson with all his merits did not 
succeed in reaching till near its end, that of a Colonelcy. 
In this grade, however, though so honorable to a man of 
only thirty-one years, Wayne did not linger long. Febru- 


ary, 1777. saw him a Brigadier-General, in which rank it 
was that he made his name resplendent and immortal, cover- 
ing it with a Revolutionary glory second only to what was 
earned by Washington himself and by Gen. Greene. He 
became a Major-General not until 1792, when Washington 
sent him, as we have just seen, at the head of the army to 
conquer a peace and which, in the very teeth of British in- 
trusion and instigation, he did most triumphantly succeed in 
conquering not from one, two or three Indian N.itious only, 
but from all the North- Western tribes combined. 

Whilst Gen. Wayne was thus reaping for himself and 
his country an overflowing recompense for the loss of his 
seat in the of Representatives, Gen. Jackson also soon 
saw himself made more than whole by a proud amends. The 
very next Legislature after his exclusion from the Lower 
House conferred upon him a seat in the Senate of the Uni- 
ted States for a full terra commencing on the 4th of March, 
1793. When he had been in that elevation but two years, 
he heeded the cry of the people calling upon him to disrobe 
himself and come down at once to thetr help against the Ya- 
zoo Fraud. His ready obedience gave the country example 
of a resignation the noblest on record, and inculcated a les- 
son which noble natures only will be ever quick to feel and 
imbibe, that there are some occasions discernible by such 
natures which render humility a sublime practical virtue, 
and make it more glorious to descend with a magnanimous 
alacrity to the lowlier posts of public service than to cling 
with tenacious pride and self-love to the higher and more 
shining ones. What he had to do in the matter for 
which he resigned and how he acquitted himself there- 
in, we have already sufficiently seen, and seen also how after 
finishing that task, he otherwise faithfully and ably served 
Georgia at home until the time came when she sent him once 
more to represent her in the National Senate contemporane- 
ously with Mr. Jefferson's accession to the Presidency. Death 
found him in that position and at his post on the 19th of 
March, 1806. All that was mortal of him is still inhumed 


at the Federal capital, and the citizen of Georgia who would 
look upon his grave and the simple stone that marks it can 
to this day only do so by a pilgrimage to the Congressional 
burying ground at Washington City. By no monument, 
statue or even portrait has Georgia ever done homage to the 
man who from his dawn of youth to his death served her 
with so much devotion and brought her so much honor and 
benefit, and whose name on the whole sheds more lustre on 
her history than any other on its page a lustre which is 
destined to brighten under the test of time and contemplation 
a man, too, who loved her so intensely as to cause him 
to exclaim that if, when he died, his heart should be open- 
ed and examined, her name would be found imprinted 
there.* Yet happily his likeness remains to us and those 
who yearn to know what manner oi man he was to the eye, 
need but to turn to the American Portrait Gallery in order I 
to gaze upon the noble, intellectual, spiritudle countenance 
and the thinking, high. -Ved, cultured looks and expression 
that belonged to him. 

In estimating Gen. Jackson and awarding him the pre- 
eminence among the proud names which are the especial 
growth of Georgia, regard should be had to him as a whole. 
We must study him in all his elements, qualities and rela- 
tions, in all his actions and situations. In some particulars 
there may be named those whom he cau;ui{ be said to sur- 
pass or even equal. But then there is to be seen belonging 
to him a signal felicity in which he stands alone, a felicity 
consisting in his tout ensemble of virtue*, talents and merits, 
moral and intellectual, martial and political, heroic, civic, 
chivalrous, conferring on him a glory composite alike of 
peace and war, and which rises to the beautiml and sublime 
in both, though in what it derives from peace it is more for- 
tunate even than in what it owes to war, in that its peace- 
ful part furnishes an impressive, ever-speaking example and 
lesson to his countrymen, exhorting to purity, rectitude and 
true wisdom in public affairs, and urging relentlessly to the 

White's Statistics. Title Jackson County. 


undoing, crushing and preventing of all public turpitude 
and profligacy. Even now in Georgia that example and 
lesson start up to view and challenge a thoughtful remem- 
brance, warning our people that if they would protect the 
coffers of the State from legalized robbery, their Legislators 
from the contaminating approaches of a bribery and corrup- 
tion outstripping the Yazoo infamy and themselves and 
their posterity from an iniquitous taxation at once disgrace- 
ful, oppressive and blighting, a taxation to carry out, sanc- 
tion and reward the villanies of Bullock and his crew, they 
must pursue the course and act on the principles of Gen. 
Jackson and his compatriots, and erect an insurmountable 
constitutional barrier against the payment of Bullock's 
fraudulent bonds, just as Jackson and his co-workers in the 
convention of 1798, not leaving such a matter as another 
possible Yazoo enormity within the Legislative competency, 
erected an insuperable constitutional barrier against any 
more sales whatever of Indian lands by the Legislature ex- 
cept to the Government of the United States, and thereby 
madefurever impossible auy more Yazoo frauds in Georgia. 
Gen. Jackson was not the only one of his blood and name 
that crossed the ocean to cast his lot in Georgia. Long af- 
ter him and when he had attained to great eminence, subse- 
quently to the Revolutionary war, a gifted younger brother 
came, still in his boyhood, who under his fraternal care and 
guidance grew up to be a n admirable, meritorious, accom- 
plished man, useful and honored in his day, though moving 
in a more confined and unambitous sphere than that illus- 
trated by the General himself. All who are familiar 
with the history of Franklin College during its slow re- 
nfjiwance and hard struggle for a new life after the war of 
1812, will know at once that Dr. Henry Jackson, Professor 
of Natural Philosophy in that Institution fifty-odd years 
ago, is the person to whom I am now alluding. Among 
the felicities incidental to my Law studentship in Athens, 
under Judge Clayton, in 1821, I have always felt it a 
chief one that by means of it I came to see and know Dr. 


, Jackson and Dr. Waddell, the then President of the Col- 
lege, Dr. Jackson having, however, at that time resigned 
his professorship and gone into retirement, though still con- 
tinuing to reside in Athens. But quite a number of the 
brilliant and nohle-minded young men who had pat under 
his instructions were still in the college or otherwise resi- 
dent in Athens, and 1 became socially almost as one of 
themselves. I was struck by the manner in which they in- 
variably spoke of Dr. Jackson. Their conversation about 
him literally glowed with admiration. They exulted at 
his talents, character and acquirements and his faculty of 
winning the interested attention of the young and inspiring 
tLeir minds. More fortunate than most of the learned men 
whose destiny it is to fill the chairs of colleges, he was more 
than a mere man of books and of the closet. He had also seen 
the world and been a man of the world in the highest, best and 
most enlarging sense, and the advantages he had enjoyed as 
such had been to him as seed sown on good ground. It was, 
according to the published records of the College, as far back 
as 1811, that he was first called to the Professorship. But he 
had hardly filled it a twelvemonth when the collapse of the 
college caused by the war, opened hia way, without a resig- 
nation, to another and to him a most attractive career. In 
]813 he was invited by that great man, William II. Craw- 
ford, then just appointed Minister to France, to accompany 
him in the capacity of Secretary of Legation. He remained 
in Europe several years, continuing there for some time af- 
ter Mr. Crawford's return, a studious, enlightened observer 
of the mighty and tangled mass of events that had in that 
quarter of the globe been for many years drifting fearfully 
through seas of hlood to a conclusion now in full view the 
universal calm of a despotism joyful after the long, convul- 
sive storms through which it had passed. All the while 
too he was profiting- diligently by the splendid opportunities 
that lay around him for enlarged scientific acquisitions 
and varied mental culture and enrichment. The result was 
that he returned home a man of rare and manifold accom- i 



plishments and was justly entitled to the extraordinary es- 
timation in which he was immediately held. 

But though anxiously expected, as I remetnher to have 
read in a Life of President Finley published many years 
ago and not now within my reach, he did not get back to 
his Professorial post in time to co-operate, in setting the 
College anew on its feet, with that greatly-beloved and 
deeply-lamented gentleman ; who coming from New Jer- 
sey a stranger among us, but bringing with him to the 
headship of the College great advantages of character and 
prestige, was received with general delight and was success- 
ful by his opening labors and exertions in making a most 
happy impression throughout the State. Public expecta- 
tion in regard to him rose to a very high pitch, 8<on to be 
dashed however, by his premature death in the fall of 1817, 
filling all Georgia with grief ere the first year of his Presi- 
dency had expired. His successor was Dr. Moses Waddell, 
the father of classical education in our up-country, the school- 
master of Crawford, Calhoun,McDuffie,Pettigrew,Longstreet, 
and many others whose after lives and distinction reflected 
honor on his name. Dr. Jackson returned soon enough to 
give his valuable aid to this grand, solid, beneficent veteran 
in finally rehabilitating the college and launching it upon 
that long career of prosperity which it maintains to this day. 

Why, when he saw the college once more securely under 
way arid free from danger of relapse and himself, too, at 
once an idol and an ornament there, he so soon withdrew 
from his connection with it and went into absolute retire- 
ment, I have never known or heard. I have not, however, 
been able to help divining somewhat of the cause : 
For that conversant during his years of absence with the 
most distinguished social, scientific and political circles of 
the world and accustomed, consequently, to high and stimu- 
lating intellectual habits, he found himself averse probably 
after his return, to drudging in a perpetual round of things in 
science and philosophy iamiliar and rudimen^al to him, al- 
though ever so new, fresh and interesting to his successive 


new classes of pupils. His retirement bordered on that 
of a recluse. Rarely seen abroad, a glimpse of him was 
sometimes to be had in the cool of a summer evening prom- 
enading meditatively the grounds within his own curtilige, 
conscious of the pure clime that environed him, the soft, 
aerial summit of the far off Currihee just not sunken from 
his view and the fair earth and fairer Heavens serene and 
sympathetic above and around him. 

Note to page 4, from WHITE'S HISTOHICAL SKETCH};-) OP GEORGIA, pagt 634. 

Hon. Thomas Spalding was born at Fredenca. on the Island of St. Simon's, 
Glynn county, on the 26th March, 1774, and was o! Scottish descent. He was 
the son of James Spalding. Esq .who married the eldest daughter of Colonel 
William Mclntosh, the latter being the same person who. when a lad, with his 
younger brother, I.achlan. (afterwards General Mcliilosh, of the Revolutionary 
War,) followed their father, John More Mclntosh, a Highland chieftain, when, 
with a band of intrepid Highlanders, he accompanied General Oglethorpe to 
the wilds of Georgia, in 1736, and from whom sprang many of that name, who 
periled their all for the independence of their country during our Revolution- 
ary contest. 

Mr. Spaltiing's father was a gentleman of line abilities, and a great reader 
of men and of books, the advantages of which he seamed to have early and 
indelibly impressed upon the mind of his son, who read everything, and whose 
surprisingly tenacious memory, retaining all that he read, made him as a living 
book and depositary of literary treasures, especially those of historic intere&t. 

For those gentle and benevolent traits which he so liberally practiced in 
mature manhood, he was indebted to the influence and example of his excellent 
and venerated mother, of whom he ever spoke with the most filial tenderness. 
He was their only child. At the time of his father's decease he was a student 
of law, in the office of Thomas Gibbons, E^q., of Savannah, whose practice 
was extensive and profitable; and had circumstances at this period permitted 
Mr. Spalding to pursue the profession of his choice, he doubtless would have 
been eminent in it ; but his fortune being ample, and requiring his personal 
attention, he declined to proceed in the practice. He married the daughter and 
only child of Richard Leake, Esq.. which union added much to his already 
comfortable estale. 

About, this time, though very young, he was elected to the Legislature, and 
shortly after, with his family, visited Europe, and took up his residence in 
London,where he remained two years a regular attendant on, and observer of, the 
proceedings of Parliament, and in the enjoyment of that society to which his 
pecuniary means arid position among his countrymen abroad entitled him in 
the British metropolis. 

The ladv whom he married was of rare accomplishments, good sense, and of 
singular beauty ; yet she alone seemed unconscious of those irresistible fasci- 
nations which secured her the respect, admiration and love of all. They had 


born to them many children, five only of whom survived their pairnts and are 
still living. Mr. Spalding had the misfortune to lose his oldest son, James, 
while a member of the Legislature Horn Mclntosh county, during it-, ,.^>i..u 
in 18,21) an amiable young man. of superior talent, and of great pronme. 
'I'he Legislature erected a mi.numert to ui s memory m the capital of the State. 

O his return from F.ngiainl. Mr. SpaMing was elected to Congress, nd 
M-I\C(] two M-hsions. and was formany years allerwards a prominent and lead- 
ing member oi the Senate of bis native State, and until he retired iroin public 
lite, to superintend his extensive private artdirs, and to enjoy the repose and 
comforts of his attractive home, surrounded by his books, and friends, and 
strangers visiting; our country, to whom he was ever attentive. 

For the various measures which he advocated during a long political cai -,, 
through anxious and perplexing periods of our history, he acted always trum a 
conscientious conviction of being right, and for the interest of his country. 
There never was a more ardent or a purer patriot. At the close of the war ->i 
i\2, in compliance with a commission from the General Government, he pro- 
ceeded to Bermuda, and negotiated relative to the slaves and other property 
taken from the South by the British forces. 

In 1826, he was appointed Commissioner on the part of the State to meet the 
Commissioner of the United States, Governor Randolph, of Virginia, to deter- 
mine on the boundary between Georgia and the Territory of Florida, but which 
was nut conclusively settled, the Commissioners disagreeing as to what should 
be considered the true source of the St. Marys the Georgia Commissioner 
insisting on the Southern arid most distant of the two lakes from the mouth of 
the river discharging its waters into the Atlantic, which lake has since been 
called after him. 

The limit assigned for biographical sketches in this work admits of nothing 
more than a mere outline of the life of Mr. Spalding. He was a fluent, ener- 
getic speaker, and a line writer. Ease of style and originality characterize the 
productions of his pen. He was the author of the Life of Oglethorpe, and of 
many other sketches; and furnished much useful matter for various agricultural 
journals of the country, was among the earliest cotton planters of the State 
and introduced the cane, its successful culture, and the manufacture of sugar 
into Georgia. He was the last surviving member of the Convention that 
revised the Constitution of the State in 1798. 

In personal appearance he was agreeable, of middling stature, of easy, unas- 
suming manners, courteous and affable. His hospitality was boundless, and 
accessible to all ; and it may be truly and emphatically said of him, that he 
was the friend of the distressed. Kind in all the relations of life, his slaved, of 
whom he had a large number, felt neither irksome toil or disquiet under his 
mild and indulgent government. 

He felt intensely interested in the Compromise measures of Congress, and, 
though in delicate health, declared his wish to go as a delegate to the Conven- 
tion in Milledgeville, even ifhe should die in the effort. He reached that city 
in a very feeble state, was elected President of the Convention, and commenced 
his duties by a neat and appropriate address, remarking in the conclusion, that 


as it would be the last, so it would also be a graceful termination of his public, 
labors.' After the adjournment, he passed on homeward through Savannah, 
greatly debilitated, and reached his son's residence, near Darien, where he ex- 
pired in the midst of his children, calmly relying on his God for a happy futu- 
rity, January -1th 185L. in the 77th year of his age, and in sight of that islai.d 
home in which it is hoped no spoiler will ever be suffered to trespass, but long 
to remain a sacred memorial of his ta*te for the sublime beauties of nature 
His residence was a massive mansion, of rather unique stv]. in the midst of a 
primeval forest of lofty, out-branching oaks, of many centuries, arrayed in the 
soft and gracefully-flowing drapery of the Southern moss, waving in noiseless 
unison with the -ceaseless surges of the ocean, which break upon the strand of 
this beautiful aud enchanting spot. 

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